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Gardens for Good Grant Winners Named

Nature’s Path Organic Foods has named the winners of its fifth annual Gardens for Good Grant, which helps put organic community gardens where they will serve those who need them most. The three deserving non-profit organizations to receive grants are Franklinton Garden in Columbus, Ohio, Mercy Gardens in Decateur, Illinois, and Growing Chefs, Vancouver, British Columbia.

“It is a true privilege to support these incredible organizations that are making significant changes in their local communities and who share our vision to provide organic food for those who might not have access to it,” said Arran Stephens, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Nature’s Path. “We are honored to have them as partners on the path towards leaving the earth better than we found it.”

Out of the 136 entries from non-profit organizations making an impact at the local level, the three winners rose to the top. They were among nine other finalists who earned the most public support by way of online votes, and were ultimately selected based on the compelling, empowering and inspirational nature in which they described their organic garden project; the feasibility to establish and maintain the garden; and demonstrated community need. The organizations will each receive a $15,000 cash grant for their community garden project, and technical design and production mentorship provided by Organic Gardening magazine.

About the Winners

Franklinton Gardens is a nonprofit urban farming and healthy food advocacy initiative in Columbus, Ohio that strives to build a critical consciousness about the potential of urban agriculture to positively transform the urban landscape. Franklinton Gardens maintains a 2-acre urban farm comprised of seven different gardens distributed throughout the neighborhood.  Produce from the gardens is donated to food pantries, community meals, and after-school children’s programs and is sold at three EBT-friendly markets that the organization helped establish in the neighborhood. Franklinton Gardens has a number of additional food-based projects in the works, including the development of a community composting campaign, the remodeling of a neighborhood church’s kitchen to host food processing workshops, and the development of a neighborhood edible perennial orchard-nursery. Franklinton Gardens will use the Gardens for Good Grant to remodel a vacant building to be used as a creative workspace that will provide long-term support for urban agriculture in Central Ohio.

 

Mercy Gardens is a project collaboration between two non-profits in Decatur, Illinois, that will bring healthy, organic food to approximately 300 food insecure men, women, and children daily, as well as train low-income citizens to become organic gardeners. The idea was born between Decatur Is Growing Gardeners (DIGG), an urban farming initiative whose purpose is to create entrepreneurial opportunities for low-income residents through growing vegetables and fruits sustainably, and The Good Samaritan Inn, whose mission is to maintain a community program to serve nutritious meals to the hungry and economically disadvantaged. With the Gardens for Good Grant, they plan to turn empty lots into organic urban gardens. One area will be used to create an interpretive garden utilizing recycled materials and alternative methods such as living fences and vertical gardens to serve as a showcase to the community and a potential place for agritourism activities. The other area will be used to create a garden more intensely focused on production. Both will be incorporated into a job skills training program teaching low-income people agricultural, construction, and interpretive skills. The Inn is also committed to using the produce from the garden to serve in its kitchen, which will result in around 103,000 meals served with organic, local produce annually.

 

The Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening Program inspires kids with a love for growing and eating healthy food through direct experience – getting their hands in the dirt, caring for growing plants, and harvesting and cooking their own vegetables. A volunteer chef partners with the students to plant organic, indoor windowsill gardens consisting of fast-growing vegetables, such as beans, peas, lettuce, and arugula. The chefs return to the classroom every two weeks for 3.5 months to help the students care for their organic windowsill gardens and lead lessons on healthy eating, gardening and plant growth, local and urban agriculture, and healthy food systems. At the end of the program, the chefs help the students harvest their vegetables and teach them to cook delicious meals with the food they grew. Students learn nutritional information and gardening and cooking skills to take home and share with their families and communities. The Gardens for Good grant will help bring the program to 46 classrooms, eight communities, and more than 1300 children.

Karoun Dairies Yogurt Spreads Awarded at ACS

 

OriginalOnWood_2_CCKaroun Dairies‘ 2014 product launch, Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads, wins first place in the “Labneh, Greek Style Yogurt and Other Strained Cultured Products” category at the annual 2014 American Cheese Society Awards, which took place from
July 29 – August 1 in Sacramento, California.
The 2014 ACS Judging & Competition saw 1,685 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 248 companies in North America. Among them, Karoun Dairies received two awards to add to its growing collection.
“We’re honored by the ACS and their acknowledgement of the quality of the products we produce. We use hand-crafted traditional methods of blending, aging, and fermenting all of our probiotic rich yogurt spreads,” states Mr. Rostom Baghdassarian, COO for Karoun Dairies. “This year, we introduced Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spreads, as we’ve seen a major demand for healthier, Mediterranean-style spreads. Blue Isle is a fresh, tasty, and health conscious alternative to traditional cream cheeses.”
Karoun Dairies’ winning products at the American Cheese Society 2014 awards include:
Labneh, Greek Style Yogurt and Other Strained Cultured Products: first place - Blue Isle Original Mediterranean Yogurt Spread
Crème Fraiche and Sour Cream Products – Made From Cow’s Milk: second place – Canadian Style Sour Cream
Stack_1_4_CC_sharpenOver 1,400 members strong, ACS is the leading organization supporting the understanding, appreciation, and promotion of farmstead, artisan and specialty cheeses produced in the Americas. ACS hosts North America’s foremost annual educational conference and world-renowned cheese judging and competition.
Blue Isle Yogurt Spreads are distributed by Karoun Dairies, Inc., a second-generation family business with multiple awards for excellence in the cheese and dairy industry. Accolades include World Cheese Awards, World Championship Cheese medals, U.S. Championships, American Cheese Society medals, and California State Fair awards to name a few. Karoun produces some of California’s finest specialty cheeses; using century-old and handmade methods. All 130+ SKUs are made from ultra-premium ingredients, including premium milk from cows that are free of artificial hormones, BGH/rBST, and are Real California Milk certified.

 

The Moose Lodge Collection from Gourmet du Village

 

gourmetduvillage mooseThis collection from Gourmet du Village brings back some of the company’s traditional, holiday best tastes, such as Creamy Eggnog, Cranberry Cider, or classic favorites such as Minty Humbugs or their Double Truffle Hot Chocolate. These tastes combined with the striking graphic appeal of traditional tartan for the holidays; with a bold moose design. This collection brings back memories of the mountain lodge, birch log decoration, the open stone fireplace, warm and inviting. Perfect for gifting or to enjoy after a refreshing winter walk in the snow or romantic sleigh ride.

This new product along with Gourmet du Village’s entire new collection of gourmet gifts can be seen at showrooms in Dallas, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.

 

Get It While It’s Hot! Heirloom Farmers Markets Hosts 11th Annual Chile Festival

With Tucson’s temperatures sizzling, Heirloom Farmers Markets is celebrating the heat with its 11th Annual Chile Festival.

Attracting thousands of visitors, the Chile Festival kicks off at the Oro Valley Farmers Market in Oro Valley, Arizona on Saturday, August 23 and continues at the Rillito Park Farmers Market in Tucson on Sunday, August 24.

Vendors will be offering delectable chile-themed food, including freshly roasted green chiles, chile spices, zesty tamales and salsas, and an abundance of chile specialties. Chef demonstrations and live music round out this fiery event. Admission is free.

“The Annual Chile Festival is an event close to our region’s heritage,” says Roxanne Garcia, Co-director of Heirloom Farmers Markets. “We showcase the abundance of chile varieties and share fun and creative ways to cook with chile and chile products.”

The Southwest is known for its quality and diversity of chiles. While New Mexico may be the largest U.S. chile producer, Arizona is vital part of the Chile Belt, growing approximately 6,000 acres of chiles valued at close to $10 million. Heirloom Farmers Markets’ Annual Chile Festival salutes the region’s rich chile heritage while supporting a vibrant spectrum of local food producers and proprietors.

Hosting more than a dozen exciting local food events each year – of which the Annual Chile Festival is but one – Heirloom Farmers Markets is a visionary leader in Tucson’s local food movement.

Heirloom Farmers Markets operates three urban, green markets that are open 52 weeks a year. These markets provide a direct connection to more than 90 vendors with deep roots in Southwest Arizona including farms, nurseries, bakeries, meat and seafood providers, cheese makers, and specialty foods producers. The markets are open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the summer months, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the balance of the year. For more information visit the website at www.heirloomfm.com.

California Table Grape Growers Award Scholarships

Nine high school graduates from the table grape growing regions in the San Joaquin and Coachella valleys of California were recently awarded scholarships on behalf of California’s table grape growers.

Five of the scholarships were awarded to children of table grape field workers: three $20,000 scholarships to four-year universities and two $3,500 scholarships to two-year colleges. Four $20,000 scholarships to four-year universities were awarded to students majoring in agriculture-related fields.

For 30 years, California’s table grape growers have funded the nation’s first worker-focused scholarship program. The program has awarded over 100 scholarships to field workers and their children from the table grape growing regions in California. A few years ago scholarships were added for students living in the table grape growing regions who plan to pursue careers in agriculture.
“The 2014 scholarship recipients are all very talented and motivated individuals, with a variety of career interests,” said Kathleen Nave, commission president. “These scholarships are one of the ways that California’s table grape growers encourage and support education in their local communities.”

Scholarships will be offered again next year, with applications for 2015 available in the fall of 2014 at www.grapesfromcalifornia.com.

A Playful Take on an Italian Classic

 

By Lorrie Baumann

A colleague of mine at Oser Communications Group has asked me to review a recipe for Pasta with Jam Sauce concocted by Mr. West Collins and demonstrated in a YouTube video that can be seen at http://youtu.be/90tZUltzRBc. She asked me to respond to the video as a professional writer on matters of culinaria, based on my experience as editorial director of Gourmet News, the business newspaper of the specialty food industry, and Kitchenware News & Housewares Review magazine, as part of her participation in GISHWHES as a member of Team CommorientLoves6RMartial Arts.

Collins’ recipe calls for canned pasta sauce, carrot juice, Goldfish crackers and a whole apple with several bites out of it, which of course does not adhere to our traditional notions of how to make a great pasta sauce. It must be said, though, that there are certainly more recipes for pasta sauce out there than there have ever been pasta cooks to concoct them, so we must not accept without question the notion that Collins’ recipe is entirely new to the world.

We recreated the recipe in our editorial office with Hunt’s all-natural tomato sauce, which does not include added sugar; Polaner strawberry spreadable fruit, which is sweetened only with fruit juice; Bolthouse Farms carrot juice; Pepperidge Farm’s Baked Goldfish crackers, flavor blasted with “Xplosive Pizza + Parmesan” for a little bit of Italian flavoring; and a Red Delicious apple, which was removed when the pasta was served on elbow macaroni from a carton of Kraft macaroni and cheese.

The results admittedly fall short of our expectations for a fine Italian pasta sauce, due primarily to the ingredient choices, which could have been improved. However, ingredients are just one element in a successful culinary experience. Other necessary elements include technique and tools. Collins’ video demonstrates that he had available to him the essential tools of a modern American home kitchen, although it is also apparent that his technique with them is not expert. Clearly, that will benefit from future experiments in the kitchen and additional instruction from a knowledgeable cook with more culinary experience than he.

With quality ingredients, adequate tools and a firm grasp of basic technique, any cook can put an edible meal on the table. But putting an exceptional meal on the table calls for something else: the creativity born of imagination and a willingness to experiment. And that, Collins brings in abundance.

That being the case, the actual taste of the dish that results from Collins’ recipe is almost irrelevant. In any case, the sauce made from his recipe is not all that different from a nationally distributed brand that has certainly turned a profit over the years. What Collins is really serving up here, along with his Pasta with Jam Sauce, is fun. That the adults around him encouraged his experiment fostered his creativity and culinary courage. That they recorded it and shared it with us allows us also to have a taste of the fun.

However, if you are looking for your own opportunity to cook up a playful take on an Italian classic, I would suggest some experiments with the Maple Bacon Aioli recently released by Stonewall Kitchen, a premium product that you’ll find in a specialty grocery or gourmet store. Stonewall Kitchen sent me a couple of jars to sample and review, and I recently tried it out as a pizza sauce with good results. I used a prepared pizza crust from Trader Joe’s, rolled it out and spread it with the aioli, then topped it with chopped roast chicken and mozzarella cheese and baked it. Delicious!

 

 

 

MauiGrown Coffee Wins Cupping Awards

 

On July 18, 2014, MauiGrown Coffee reaffirmed its coveted place in the coffee world by capturing first place for its Maui Mokka® – Natural at Hawaii Coffee Association’s 6th Statewide Coffee Cupping Competition held in Kealakekua on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The 2014 field included 77 total entries. The Commercial Division included 22 entries, 12 of which came from the District of Maui. In the Commercial Division, MauiGrown Coffee’s Maui Mokka – Natural and Aloha Hills Kona Coffee tied for first place with a score of 87.3 out of 100. MauiGrown Coffee also took second place in the Maui District Division for Maui Mokka – Natural.

According to the Maui Coffee Association’s 2014 Cupping Committee, the quality of coffees entered in this year’s competition was of the highest level, and they commended the winners for being an accomplished group of farmers who raise great Hawaiian coffee.

“Great coffee doesn’t just happen,” said Kimo Falconer, President of MauiGrown Coffee. “It takes a dedicated team of farm workers to produce award-winning coffee, and I couldn’t be prouder of our Maui Mokka team.”

The Maui Mokka variety of coffee originated in Yemen and was planted on the Kaanapali Estate by Pioneer Mill 25 years ago. Today, it is one of four exceptional coffee varietals grown and harvested in West Maui.

Maui Mokka’s small, roundish chubby beans produce a cup delightfully fused with a range of subtle chocolate flavors. During this year’s cupping competition, judges described the Maui Mokka varietal as “a winey, sparkly coffee with good acidity, nice body and hints of a fruit and nut bar. It has notes of boysenberry and blackberry and tones of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate and finishes like a good port and a cigar.”

According to Falconer, the soil and nutrition, the water cycle and the sun are just part of the process of producing a sweet coffee cherry.

“We allow the coffee cherries to stay on the tree until they turn purple which produces the maximum amount of sugars concentrated into the fruit,” said Falconer. “After harvesting we let the coffee age for almost six months in the coffee pulp to bring out the various fruit flavors. The coffee bean is then milled, bagged and sent off to our customers worldwide.”

“Roasting is also critical to bringing out the maximum flavor of the coffee,” said Jeff Ferguson, Co-owner and Manager of the MauiGrown Coffee Company Store. “We invite the public to taste the fruits of our labor at our store in Lahaina. We offer a medium roast and a dark roast to please all palates.”

For information, visit www.MauiGrownGreenCoffee.com or contact Kimo Falconer at jkimof@msn.com or 808-357-1204. The MauiGrown Coffee Company Store is located at 277 Lahainaluna Road in Lahaina, Maui adjacent to the historic Pioneer Mill smokestack, call 808-661-2728 or visit www.MauiGrownCoffee.com for information and/or store hours or to order online.

 

JBS USA Launches Beef Information Website

JBS USA has launched SwiftBeef.com, an interactive website highlighting Swift’s history of excellence while serving as a resource for retail and foodservice operators, as well as an easy-to-use source of information for today’s discerning consumer.

“SwiftBeef.com is an influential source of knowledge, from product information to recipes,” said John Flynn, JBS USA Beef Sales and Marketing team lead. “It is essential that our customers are able to easily navigate brand information and selling tools that can help strengthen their operations.”

Consumers are increasingly inquisitive about their food purchases and beef is no exception. The Swift website provides information about how the Swift brand first developed, and details the brand’s history of excellence since 1855. From boxed beef to value-added items, the Swift website presents the brand’s comprehensive product offering, which has strengthened through the years to accommodate the needs of customers. SwiftBeef.com also serves as a resource for delicious and convenient meals with its user-friendly recipe page.

“Research shows that consumers want more information about how to select or prepare beef and that they rely heavily on digital resources for guidance,” said Alexandria Tyre, Marketing Manager at JBS USA. “In addition to appetizing recipes, SwiftBeef.com features frequently asked questions, covering topics from cooking temperatures to where specific beef cuts come from.”

SwiftBeef.com gives consumers easy access to the information they desire and creates an open doorway of connectivity. The website is compatible with all portable devices, making it a convenient resource for retail and foodservice customers, as well as consumers who want to access the site on-the-go.

Swift Beef is a product of JBS USA, an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS S.A., the world’s leading animal protein processor. JBS USA is a leading processor of beef, pork and lamb in the U.S., a leading processor of beef in Canada and a leading processor of beef and lamb in Australia. JBS USA processes, prepares, packages and delivers fresh, further-processed and value-added beef and pork products for sale to customers in more than 100 countries on five continents. JBS USA is also a majority shareholder of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation, the second largest poultry company in the U.S. For more information, visit www.jbssa.com.

Jarlsberg Now in Mini Snack Size

 

Jarlsberg® Cheese, a nationally recognized premium quality brand, is now in a mini snack size. Available in a 30 count UPC barcode for individual sale—in a display ready case for immediate placement in the refrigerated case—Jarlsberg Cheese Minis offer convenience stores, drugstores, retail, institutional and hospitality foodservice channels profit opportunity that taps directly into current consumer demand for all-natural and fresh, ready-to-eat formats of favorite brands.

Each 20g portion-sized Jarlsberg Cheese Mini is just 70 calories and a good source of calcium and protein. Dipped in wax and wrapped in cellophane to replicate the popular Jarlsberg wheel, it’s mild, mellow and nutty flavor makes it a delicious grab-and-go alternative choice to sugary snacks. Jarlsberg Cheese Minis are also available in a 50 count bulk case, with or without UPC, offering a wide range of foodservice channel applications.

For more information, contact Deborah Seife, General Manager – Marketing,dseife@norseland.com.

 

Emmi Roth Brings Home 4 Awards from ACS

Emmi Roth USA received four awards at the 2014 American Cheese Society Competition in Sacramento, California, including a first place award for its GranQueso® Original in the Hispanic & Portuguese Style Ripened Cheese category.

GranQueso, a Roth® Original inspired by the cheeses of Spain, is cellar aged for six to eight months to create a distinctive bite and sweet finish with hints of citrus, spice and hazelnut. This award is the 11th consecutive award for this cheese in the category. Earlier this year, GranQueso was also awarded Best of Class in the Hard Hispanic Cheese category at the World Championship Cheese Contest.

Roth GranQueso Reserve took second place in the Hispanic & Portuguese Style Ripened Cheese category, continuing Emmi Roth USA’s tradition of success with this style of cheese. GranQueso Reserve, which is carefully cured for more than 15 months, bears a dense texture and sweet flavors of candied pineapple and browned butter. It was also awarded second place in the Hard Hispanic Cheese category at this year’s World Championship Cheese Contest.

Additional Emmi Roth USA award winners included Roth’s Private Reserve, which placed third in the Washed Rind Cow’s Milk Cheese category, and Roth Rofumo®, which received third place in the Smoked Cow’s Milk Cheese category.

“We are proud to be part of the growing and thriving American cheese industry,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “Our team is dedicated and passionate about crafting and curing outstanding, high-quality products and wins like these help showcase everyone’s hard work. Our congratulations go out to all of the award winners.”

This year, 248 companies entered 1,685 different products in the competition. A full list of award winners is available online.