By Robin Mather
Nashville, Tennessee, producer Mod Squad Martha was among those introducing new products at this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show with the launch of Chive Jive and Bluebird Vinaigrettes, as well as Music Row Moroccan Salmon Marinade and Rub. The company contributes a portion of sales to Crossroads Campus and Bonaparte’s Retreat, two 501(c) charities founded by singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris to strengthen the human/animal bond.
Chocolatier Valrhona unveiled Blond Orelys 35 Percent, chocolate lozenges sweetened with muscovado sugar, to the company’s Blond Range of chocolates.
US Wellness Meats, the Canton, Missouri-based retail purveyors of Heritage Pork, Grass-Fed Beef, Bison and Lamb, Wild-Caught Seafood, plus poultry and rabbit, sampled its sugar-free pork bacon and other products. Boone County Organics sampled its organic chocolate-covered freeze-dried aronia berries, one of the newest trending superfoods, from the US Wellness Meats booth.
Wella Bar, which produces organic nut-based protein bars, showed off four new flavors, including Hazelnut Cacao, Almond Sour Cherry, Almond Blueberry and Almond Cacao. The bars gain their protein boosts from whole milk and egg whites. A portion of the company’s sales benefit the Bee Kind initiative, which Project Apis began.
Everton Toffee introduced a line of butter-toffee covered pretzels, in Original Toffee, Toasted Pecan and Roasted Cashew flavors. The company, nearly 300 years old, also showed off its new gift tins, which feature charming Dickensian cartoon characters, each with his or her own “life story.”
Angelic Bakehouse, producer of sprouted grain breads, showed its new sprouted bread crisps in 7 Grain with Sea Salt, Honey Wheat with Raisins and Sea Salt, and Rye with Sea Salt flavors. Like its other products, the crisps are Non-GMO Certified, Kosher and feature fully transparent labeling.
The Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery sampled its new natural cheddar cheese curds in individual 2-ounce packages, and announced that it will soon add frozen breaded curds to foodservice and retail outlets.
Plocky’s Fine Snacks introduced its Protato Crisps in Original with Himalayan Pink Salt, Spicy Honey Barbecue and Peppercorn Ranch flavors. The chips combine potatoes with plant protein for additional nutrition and are available in three-ounce bags.
Alexian, producers of all-natural pates and specialty meats, revealed their new Specialty Crackers in Olive Oil & Sea Salt flavor, made with just three ingredients. The crackers are Non-GMO Project verified, vegan-certified and kosher.
Dockside Market, a Key Largo-based longtime producer of tropical-flavored cakes, introduced its new Breezer cookies in Key Lime with White Chocolate Chips, Coconut Crunch with Chocolate Chips and Pecas, and Honeybell Orange with Chocolate Chips flavors. The bite-sized cookies come in a resealable bag.
Organic Prairie, a farmer-owned company, introduced its Mighty Beef Grassfed Organic Jerky and Beef Sticks. The jerky comes in Teriyaki, Original and Peppered flavors, while the beef sticks come in Teriyaki, Original and Spicy Jalapeño flavors. All are gluten free, nut-free and non-GMO certified.
Organic Valley introduced its Cream-on-Top Grassmilk Yogurt in a new 6-ounce serving cup, including four new varieties with organic fruit.
Jake’s Nut Roasters introduced five new flavors of its California-grown dry-roasted almonds, available in 5-ounce pouches, 7-ounce cans and four-pack gift sets. The flavors are Mesquite-Smoked, Bleu Cheese with Cracked Pepper, Bloody Mary, Barbecue and Maple.
Lotao showed its three flavors of Coconut Blossom Sugar (Ginger Kiss, Java Kiss and Oriental Kiss) and its line of organic rice and legume products, including Curcuma Sun Golden Rice, Oriental Sensation Smoked Rice, Glam Wedding Pink Rice, and Royal Pearl Black Rice, and Carillas Ahumadas, Caviar de Los Huertos and Tolosas de Leon beans and lentils.
Karoun Dairies unveiled four flavors of its Mediterranean-style labne, a yogurt-cheese spread in Lite, Original, Tzatziki and Spicy (with spicy red pepper, garlic and parsley). The company also introduced Blue Isle yogurt dips in Tzatziki, Masala and Hummus flavors.
Cypress Grove, makers of the iconic Humboldt Fog and other fine cheeses, announced its plans to produce individually-sized portions of many of its popular cheeses.
The Italian company Terra d Tuono showed its “Ballsamic” sphere ― a golf ball-sized sphere of solid balsamic vinegar, made possible by a patented new process. The sphere is designed to be grated over many dishes, including pasta, meat and fish, vegetables and salads, cheeses, and fruit, ice cream and desserts.
Biscotti Brothers, makers of traditionally twice-baked biscotti, revealed new packaging for three of its best-selling flavors ― Cranberry Pistachio, Classic Almond and Double Chocolate Chunk. The resealable gusseted bags provide a nine-month shelf life for the biscotti.
Ines Rosales, makers of the traditional Spanish olive-oil tortas, has introduced individually packaged traditional cinnamon cookies, baked with high-oleic sunflower oil. The cookies are light and crisp, sodium free and low in saturated fat.
Sierra Nevada Cheese Company sampled its new Russian-style fresh “farmer cheese,’ with live probiotic cultures. The company suggests using it as a filling for blintzes or in lasagna or filled pasta, cheesecake and other deserts, or simply to spread on toast or bagels.
Marich Chocolates showed its new holiday-flavored cookies and caramels. Candy Cane Caramels offer dark chocolate cloaked in the company’s signature candy cane coating, while its Dark and White Chocolate Gingerbread cookies are covered in white chocolate and dark chocolate marbling.
Sweet Shop USA introduced two new three-ounce chocolate bars in Spicy Peanut or Dark Goji Berry. Both are organic. The company also now offers boxed and individually wrapped singles in Salted Butter Rum Pecan Cluster, Fudge Love Truffle, and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Carmel, Milk Chocolate Bourbon Caramel, Dark Chocolate Mint Sticks, Milk Chocolate Peca Praline, Milk Chocolate Almond toffee and Dark Almond Sea Salt toffee flavors.
Olli Snacks has introduced new snack packs of Genoa Salami and Calabrese Salami, both including cheese and crackers, and sliced 2-ounce chubs of both Genoa and Calabrese Salamis.
By Robin Mather
The Specialty Food Association honored seven members with Lifetime Achievement awards, and inducted 26 members into its Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York in July.
The Lifetime Achievement awards went to:
New inductees into the Hall of Fame are:
Organic leaders representing more than a half-million organic farmers throughout the Americas convened in Portland, Oregon, recently for the 9th Annual Inter-American Commission for Organic Agriculture (ICOA) Conference and discussed the latest research, challenges and opportunities for organic agriculture and trade in the Americas.
This year’s annual gathering marked the first time the conference was held in the United States and the first ICOA annual gathering hosted and organized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Organic Trade Association. It drew the heads of national organic programs and organic trade leaders from 13 nations outside the U.S. spanning South and Central America. ICOA and its conference promote organic agriculture, equivalency, standards alignment and trade among participating countries.
“The members of ICOA play an important role in the global organic industry,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director for the Organic Trade Association. “Nearly 20 percent of all organic land in the world is contained in the 19 member countries, along with some 600,000 organic farmers and operations. These countries are also active in the global organic market, with the U.S. importing around $750 million worth of organic products from this region last year.”
“There has never been a more essential time for organic industry representatives from the United States, Central America and South America to gather, collaborate and align,” added Monique Marez, Director of International Trade at the Organic Trade Association. “We were delighted to serve as the host country and trade association. We look forward to taking part in an even more collaborative trade environment as a result of this highly productive conference.”
ICOA (identified in Spanish as CIAO) was established in 2008 by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). Its mission is to help support organic agriculture in the Americas by building ties with countries within the hemisphere that have organic regulatory systems and standards, and also to support countries establishing an institutional process to regulate organic agriculture. Nineteen countries are members of ICOA. Attendees at the Portland conference represented member nations with still fledgling organic sectors to ones with well-established organic systems–Argentina, Chile, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Spain, Costa Rica, and the United States.
Providing Tools to Grow Organic
The organic sector in Central and South America is dominated by small family farmers, and those farmers are eager to obtain more educational information on organic agricultural practices and standards. The Organic Trade Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were praised for developing an informative agenda at the conference and providing attendees with useful tools that can be put into practice in their home countries.
“There are currently few Spanish-language resources on organic practices and certification, so having the Organic Trade Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture offer this depth of information and training is incredibly valuable,” said Graciela Lacaze of Argentina, Executive Director of ICOA. “Attendees from both Spanish and Latin American countries came away with the tools necessary to strengthen the development of organic activity in their respective countries to further grow trade of their products.”
Leader of the U.S. delegation, Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the USDA’s National Organic Program, noted that a strong global control system for organic depends on collaboration and coordination with the global community through bodies like ICOA.
“We covered everything from organic benefits and equivalency standards to growth opportunities and trade arrangements at the ICOA meeting,” said McEvoy. “Continuing this work with ICOA is a crucial piece in protecting organic integrity through the global control system. I look forward to building meaningful connections and creating lasting results.”
The week-long conference included three days of meetings of ICOA’s General Assembly and a day-long public summit on international organic cooperation and trade within the Americas.
Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture Alexis Taylor addressed the ICOA General Assembly on the importance of organic agriculture to Oregon’s farming community and to the state’s overall economy, and on the commitment of Oregon to organic and to a strong regulatory system for organic. “Oregon has a long history of supporting organic agriculture through strong regulatory framework and protecting integrity for consumers,” she said.
Presenters at the public summit included Nate Lewis, Farm Policy Director for the Organic Trade Association, speaking on how to build organic farmer coalitions and encourage farmers to transition to organic; Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center, presenting the latest research on the benefits of organic; and Monique Marez, who gave an update and analysis of global organic trade and imports.
The group also heard presentations on organic certification from Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) and on organic standards from the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).
The conference ended with a day-long field trip to area organic producers and retailers, including visits to Organic Trade Association members Bob’s Red Mill and New Seasons Market. Bob Moore, who founded Bob’s Red Mill with his wife Charlee in 1978 to produce healthy, organic whole grain flour and products, met with the group. The group also toured a store of New Seasons Market, the Portland-based organic and natural food store which since 2000 has been serving communities in Oregon, Washington and northern California.
“The Organic Trade Association has worked hard to become the go-to source of information on international trade,” said Marez. “We were excited to host this international meeting, and we’ll continue to advocate for and help advance organic in the global community.”