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Gourmet Food

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Tillen Farms Rebrands Entire Product Line

Tillen Farms, the brand behind the leading range of Northwest grown vegetables and cherries, has a whole new look. Tillen Farms® has rebranded the vegetables to showcase their uniform quality while simplifying key selling points. In addition, the entire line of pickled vegetables is now non-GMO certified.

The new look will make its official debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show. It is the first major label redesign since Tim Metzger purchased the brand more than 14 years ago.

Tillen FarmsThe rebranding includes new, clear labels that showcase the products’ uniform quality and list on the front of the jar pertinent attributes such as vegan, gluten free, kosher certified and low sodium. The new non-GMO-certified seal is front and center. The lids now boast “Northwest Fresh,” and the blue lids and blue scalloped banding will make the product instantly recognizable on shelf. The new tagline for Tillen Farms pickled vegetables is “We’ve got nothing to hide.”

“Perfectly picked, perfectly presented, that is what we are all about,” says Tim Metzger, Owner of Tillen Farms. “This is a revolutionary change for us.”

Before, the labels partially obscured the contents and did not include the product attributes in front. “The idea is to appeal to a new generation of specialty food consumers who are looking for those key call outs on the front panel,” Metzger says.

In addition, the company is launching a new trade theme line, “Every great meal begins and ends with Tillen Farms.” The line includes eight crispy vegetables to liven up cocktails and appetizer time, and three cherries to add a sweet touch to cocktails and spark up dessert. Tillen Farms’ award-winning Bada Bings®, Merry Maraschinos and Rainier Reserve are hand-packed and sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The cherries are all pitted, with stems on and are made with no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or corn syrup.

Tillen Farm products are available in all 50 states at select supermarket chains, liquor supercenters, specialty food and natural food stores, and online at Tillenfarms.com and Amazon.

JOLLY TIME Pop Corn Goes Gourmet

JOLLY TIME Pop Corn and premium snack food producer Cosmos Creations have joined forces to bring new popcorn flavors to consumers. The four new ready-to-eat popcorn varieties – Sea Salted Caramel, Confetti Cake, Belgian Waffle and Snickerdoodle – will be showcased at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco from January 22-24 at the Moscone Center.

The new collaboration brings together two family-owned, independent companies, pairing JOLLY TIME’s more than 100 years of popcorn heritage and with Cosmos Creations’ modern flavor profiles. The four new popcorn flavors are certified gluten free and made with non-GMO popcorn kernels and natural ingredients.

“We see this as the perfect opportunity for a mutually beneficial partnership with Cosmos Creations, a company that aligns with our mission and values, as well as allows us to extend our product line into an increasingly popular, opportune space,” said Garrett Smith, fourth generation President of JOLLY TIME Pop Corn. “The new ready-to-eat products will satisfy consumers’ desire for a convenient, sweet and indulgent twist on a traditional snack they already know and love.”

Cosmos Creations was founded in 2011 with a commitment of using natural ingredients to create premium snacks with an indulgent, artisan taste. The new collaboration allows the company to expand from its corn puff line to ready-to-eat popcorn.

“We’ve found an ideal partnership – from our similar company cultures and values to our mutual willingness to explore new flavors and trends – this collaboration has exciting potential to strengthen our reach,” said Jerid Strasheim, Cosmos Creations Vice President of Sales.

The four new flavor profiles – Sea Salted Caramel, Confetti Cake, Belgian Waffle and Snickerdoodle – will be available in 1-ounce bags with a suggested retail price of $0.99 and 5.5-ounce bags holding more than eight cups of popcorn with a suggested retail price of $2.49. The ready-to-eat popcorn line will be available at grocery retailers nationwide and online in February 2017.

Saffron Road’s New Plant-Based Protein Snacks & Frozen Bowls

Saffron Road, the fastest growing brand of premium frozen entrees, will introduce its newly expanded plant-based protein snacks line, which includes innovative ChickBean Crisps, in addition to a new frozen meals line, at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco from January 2-24.

Like all Saffron Road products, the new snacks and frozen bowls were created with the utmost commitment to authenticity, quality, transparency and culinary excellence to capitalize on the growing popularity of clean label better-for-you products in the U.S.

The ChickBean Crisps come in three flavors, Sea Salt, White Cheddar, Zesty Ranch, and all are certified halal, OU kosher, and gluten free. Since they’re primarily made from legumes, each one-ounce serving of Saffron Road ChickBean Crisps contains four grams of protein, two grams of fiber and only a few grams of fat – making them a nutritious and unique find in the snack aisle.

Saffron Road’s new World Cuisine meals, in an on-trend bowl format, come in eight delicious flavors:  Sesame Ginger Salmon with White Rice, Lemongrass Basil Fish with Rice Noodles, Thai Red Curry Fish with Rice Noodles, Masala Curry Fish with White Rice, Grilled Vegetable Tortilla Bake, Verde Tortilla Bake with Chicken, Thai-Style Mango Chicken, and Korean-Style Sweet Chile Chicken. All of the fish sourced is wild Alaskan caught and packed with Omega-3s, and the chicken is antibiotic free. All of the ingredients are authentic – to keep in line with the high culinary excellence all Saffron Road products must adhere to.

While the four fish bowl meals are already on shelf at Whole Foods Market®, the ChickBean Crisps and the remaining four new bowls will launch this January and April respectively.

For more information about Saffron Road’s new snack products, visit saffronroadfood.com. You can also follow the brand on Facebook at facebook.com/saffronroadfood, on Twitter at twitter.com/saffronroadfood, on Pinterest at pinterest.com/saffronroadfood or on Instagram at Instagram.com/saffronroadfood.

Premium Selection of Seasonings & Rubs in Retail-Friendly Plastic Jars

The Spice Lab has introduced a new retail-friendly packaging option for its award-winning line of premium spice blends and barbecue rubs. Each plastic jar with shaker top holds up to 7 ounces of gourmet seasoning and sells for a suggested retail price of $6.99 each. A free-standing shipper display, which holds 60 jars, also is being introduced for 2017.  The selection includes:

Blackened Seasoning – New for 2017: The perfect herb and spice blend for the Cajun cooking technique of blackening.

Caribbean Jerk Seasoning – 2017 Scovie Award Winner: Create classic island dishes with this spicy mixture. Try on chicken, pork and seafood.

Best of the Bay Seafood Seasoning – 2016 Scovie Award Winner: A classic blend of paprika and other spices, perfect for seafood.

Tropical Citrus Seafood Seasoning:Bright fruit flavors and island spices in this tasty blend.

Key West Classic Seasoning: Flavorful blend of onion, garlic, thyme, parsley & other spices.

Spicy Seafood Seasoning: Black pepper, garlic, thyme and other spices.

Salt Free Citrus & Dill Seafood Seasoning: Maximum flavor without the salt – great as a rub or marinade for salmon and shrimp.

Everglades Chicken and Gator Rub: A spicy medley of onion, bell peppers, black pepper and other flavorful seasonings.

Country Style Honey Mustard Seasoning: Pungent mustard and sweet honey balance this blend.

Classic Steakhouse Seasoning: A traditional blend of sea salt, spices and colorful peppercorns.

Firecracker Spicy Steak Seasoning – 2016 Scovie Award Winner: A sizzling mix of hot cayenne pepper and other spices.

Ancho Chili & Coffee Seasoning – 2016 Hot Pepper Award: Sweet and smoky mix of dried Poblano peppers, coffee and other spices.

South Beach Mango Chipotle Seasoning – 2015 Hot Pepper Award: Sweet tropical fruit, chipotle pepper and mesquite.

Italian Rustica Seasoning: A Mediterranean mix of thyme, oregano and other spices.

Bad to the Bone Seasoning: A subtle spice blend infusing flavor in every bite.

Spanish Chorizo Seasoning: Garlic, paprika, red pepper, coriander and more.

Retailers can build their own assortment for The Spice Lab’s Gourmet Seasoning display. Choose up to a maximum of four spice blends (15 jars each) to customize the display to best to appeal to the local market. Shippers will be available by January 30.

As a woman-owned and family-run business, The Spice Lab takes great pride in offering the widest selection of sea salts from a single source. Its every expanding line of products include peppers, spices, seasonings, rubs, gourmet gift collections, Himalayan salt shot glasses and plates, regional brands, private label, a wide array of corporate gifts and much more.

All products are processed and packaged in its HACCP certified manufacturing facility in Pompano Beach, Florida. The company’s high quality line of products can be found in grocery, gourmet, specialty gift shops, foodservice, club, major retailers and online through Amazon.com as well as www.thespicelab.com

Blue Crab Bay Co. Changes Hands

Pamela Barefoot, founder and longtime President of specialty food company Blue Crab Bay Co. in Melfa, Virginia, has sold the company in an asset sale to Elizabeth Lankford. Barefoot, 66, said her decision to sell Blue Crab Bay was initially difficult but was made easier once she knew the company was going to stay local. “I have been fretting over an exit strategy, and all the businesses that approached me did not want our property in the (Accomack Airport) Industrial Park,” she said.

“Two years ago, I received an email from Elizabeth Lankford, and I knew in my heart she was the right one,” Barefoot continued. “She cared about the brand. She cared about the Eastern Shore and my employees. Her father had tons of experience in the food industry, and with her very supportive family, I knew she would be a great caretaker for my Blue Crab Bay family.” Lankford’s family is well known in Maryland and Virginia. Her grandfather Stanley began Lankford Produce in 1964 and soon was joined by her father, Tom, and uncles Fred and Jim. In 1981, Lankford Produce merged with Sysco Corp.

Elizabeth, 32, recently resigned from her job in Washington, D.C., where she specialized in state government affairs for Healthcare Distribution Alliance. “I had always been looking for an opportunity to return home to the Eastern Shore,” she said. “This is a perfect fit. I have been a longtime fan of Blue Crab Bay’s brand and high-quality products. I look forward to leading the company and expanding our national reach.”

Barefoot plans to continue to work at Blue Crab Bay for at least two more years. “I’ll just have more time for my Airbnb cottage and to go RVing with my husband to state and national parks, an interest we picked up about four years ago,” she said.

Founded on Barefoot’s kitchen table in 1985, Blue Crab Bay has evolved into a nationally recognized, award-winning specialty food brand and a leader in its community. Blue Crab Bay’s line of specialty foods and gifts includes award-winning Virginia peanut snacks, Bloody Mary mixers, seafood seasonings, and Blue Crab Stoneware. The company operates from a 24,000-square-foot building in the Accomack Airport Industrial Park in Melfa, where a retail shop also is located. Products are available in thousands of stores nationwide and on the company’s consumer website.

La Crema Promotes Craig McAllister to Head Winemaker

Artisan winery La Crema has promoted Craig McAllister to the position of Head Winemaker. McAllister, who first joined the winery as the harvest enologist in 2007, has been a passionate steward of La Crema’s Monterey program and played a vital role in elevating the winery’s Sonoma Coast portfolio throughout his tenure. In addition, he has helped to further develop the winery’s collection of single vineyard Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. In his new role, McAllister, who has most recently served as associate winemaker, will gain increased responsibility for the oversight of all winemaking operations.

“Craig’s long tenure with La Crema and passion for cool-climate winemaking make him a natural fit,” said Mitch Davis, Senior Vice President of Production for Jackson Family Wines. “In particular, his expertise on the Central Coast, in the Monterey appellation, a region in which we see tremendous potential for La Crema, coupled with his skill, experience and passion, will continue to enhance the strength of the La Crema winemaking team.”

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to hand the helm of La Crema over to Craig,” said Elizabeth Grant-Douglas, the company’s most recent winemaker. “He has been my partner and right hand at La Crema for so many years and has the passion and commitment to take La Crema to the next level,” she added.

A New Zealand native, McAllister earned a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and enology from Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand. His deep passion for winemaking has taken him all over the world, from New Zealand to Australia, Chile and Cyprus. Since moving to California, McAllister has also made wine for Wild Ridge, crafting elegant Pinot Noir from vineyards on the rugged Sonoma Coast. In his expanded role, McAllister will continue to build La Crema’s portfolio, ranging from coastal regions as far north as the Willamette Valley, Oregon to as far south as Arroyo Seco, California, with a particular focus on raising the profile of the winery’s Monterey series, which includes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a soon-to-be-released Rosé of Pinot Noir. Previously only producing small batches of Rosé, La Crema will be releasing its first nationally-distributed bottling this spring.

“This is a dream job for a winemaker who enjoys the challenges and rewards of producing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from cool-climate regions,” said McAllister. “I am thrilled to be a part of this this special team and look forward to carrying on the legacy that has been entrusted to me by continuing to produce the stylistically elegant wines for which La Crema is known, while elevating the winery to new levels of success.”

For more information regarding La Crema, visit www.lacrema.com.

Sugarlands Distilling Co. Introduces Mark and Digger’s Hazelnut Rum

Sugarlands Distilling Company has announced Hazelnut Rum as the newest addition to its award-winning line of spirits. The east Tennessee distillery partnered with distilling legends Mark Ramsey and Digger Manes from the hit series “Moonshiners” to develop the spirit.

Hazelnut Rum meets the nose with sweet aromas of toasted hazelnut and brown sugar. It is a smooth, full bodied spirit that blends the tastes of vanilla, cinnamon and honey. At 80 proof, this brown spirit finishes with a sweet, oaky kick.

“Our Hazelnut rum really became a labor of love, mainly because our wives became the first big fans of it,” said Manes. “Because of them, we were determined to make it better than any other homemade liquor that anyone had ever tasted.”

Mark and Digger created hazelnut rum while filming for the Discovery Channel program. The duo combined real hazelnuts and rum in their backwoods still to create a one-of-a-kind flavored spirit.

“In the words of our mentor Popcorn Sutton, ‘this is some of the finest liquors that’s ever been,'” said Ramsey. “Now it is our pleasure to share it with the rest of the world. We’re really humbled that folks are eager to try it.”

Parmareggio Signs with Norseland

Parmareggio®, the maker of the Parmissimo® brand of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and a co-operative of manufacturers and dairies, together with Norseland, Inc., the exclusive importer of Jarlsberg® cheese, have announced that the two companies have entered a partnership, effective January 2017.

This new alliance is expected to accelerate sales growth of Parmissimo and strengthen both companies’ brand positions in the U.S. market.

“This partnership complements our premium brand portfolio,” says John J. Sullivan, CEO & President of Norseland, Inc. “Parmissimo represents a company with strong values, deep routed in tradition and quality.”

 

“Norseland has a dominant position in America in the specialty cheese market,” says Ivano Chezzi, President of Parmareggio. “Parmareggio, the main producer of Parmigiano Reggiano in the world, is proud to be alongside Norseland who, just like us, believes in the values of cooperation to enhance the Parmissimo brand of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in the US market.”

Zingerman’s Creamery Cheese Now Available on East Coast  

Zingerman’s Creamery has entered into a new partnership with World’s Best Cheeses. The specialty food distributor directly delivers some of the best cheeses, crackers, oils, chocolates and meats from around the world to gourmet retail markets, and now those offerings include Zingerman’s small-batch artisan cheeses made in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This will be the first time the Creamery has had major distribution on the East Coast.

“We’re honored to be represented on the East Coast by World’s Best Cheeses,” says Zingerman’s co-Founder Ari Weinzweig. “Their distribution network will allow us to get our cheeses to specialty shops, restaurants, caterers and cafes without having to have them incur shipping costs from the Midwest.”

Since 2001, Zingerman’s Creamery has specialized in soft-ripened cheeses, employing a combination of Old World techniques and creative innovation to draw out full, complex flavor. The cow and goat milk used is sourced from a select group of small, regional farmers to secure the highest quality product. The collaboration with World’s Best Cheeses, a leader in the specialty food industry that has been family owned and operated for over 30 years and currently has offices in New York, Massachusetts, and California, is a natural and welcomed fit for both companies.

“We have always admired and respected Zingerman’s business and philosophy, and these delicious cheeses have been on our radar for some time,” says Stephen Gellert, ACS-CCP, Vice President of Business Development for World’s Best Cheeses. “We are very excited to finally be working together!”

World’s Best Cheeses is currently distributing Zingerman’s Creamery Detroit Street Brick, Chestnut Little Napoleon, Manchester, Liptauer, and Aged Chelsea. Full descriptions of each cheese can be found in the Cheese section at www.zingermanscreamery.com.

Prairie Farms Dairy and Swiss Valley Farms Announce Merger Agreement

Prairie Farms Dairy and Swiss Valley Farms have entered into a merger agreement. Both companies are farmer-owned dairy cooperatives and recognized leaders within the dairy industry. The combined entity will bring together two well-known brands and will expand sales opportunities for both cooperatives.

Under the terms of the agreement, Prairie Farms will merge the assets of Swiss Valley Farms into Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. Assets include five manufacturing plants that produce cheese and whey powder located in: Luana, Iowa; Shullsburg and Mindoro in Wisconsin; Rochester and Faribault in Minnesota. Swiss Valley Farms CEO Chris Hoeger will continue to oversee the operation of the plants. The combined company will operate under the name Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. The terms of the merger agreement must be approved by cooperative members from both companies.

“The merger with Swiss Valley was driven by our commitment to build value for our cooperative members and is consistent with our growth strategy. Swiss Valley’s contributions will allow us to diversify our product portfolio and expand into new markets,” said Ed Mullins, Executive Vice President and CEO of Prairie Farms.

Chris Hoeger, Swiss Valley’s CEO, stated, “We are very excited to be joining forces with Prairie Farms. This merger offers numerous benefits for our cooperative members and is an ideal opportunity to bring together two industry leaders. We will leverage the strengths of both companies to offer a broader range of products and to enhance and expand relationships with customers.”

As Prairie Farms and Swiss Valley collaborate on pre-merger integration activities, their employees and customers can expect a business-as-usual environment. If approved, the deal is expected to close mid-2017.

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