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Vermont Creamery Brings 7 Awards Home from ACS

Vermont Creamery products earned seven awards at the 2014 American Cheese Society Judging & Competition this week, including first place for Bijou and Feta. This is the second award for Bijou this summer, which also earned a gold sofi at the Fancy Food Show in June.

Vermont Creamery joined 16 other Vermont cheesemakers who together took home 34 awards for the Green Mountain State, including Best of Show for Farm’s For City Kids’ Tarentaise Reserve. The annual competition is considered one of the world’s most influential and prestigious in the artisanal and specialty cheese industry. Vermont Creamery’s Bijou and Feta both earned first place in their respective categories, with Bonne Bouche, Coupole, and Cultured Butter with Sea Salt & Maple taking second place awards. The Creamery’s Crème Fraîche and Unsalted Cultured Butter placed third. In addition, Torus, a cheese made by Vermont Creamery and aged in New York by Murray’s Cheese, earned second place.

Vermont Creamery was one of only five cheesemakers out of 248 to earn seven or more awards at this year’s competition. “Four awards for our geotricum rinded cheeses is tremendously exciting,” said Allison Hooper, Co-owner and Co-founder of Vermont Creamery. “These are very special cheeses that were once unique to European cheesemakers and are now gaining popularity and recognition in the United States.”

The American Cheese Society Competition is held annually during the organization’s conference. This year’s winners were chosen from 1685 entries representing 248 companies from the United States, Canada, and Columbia. Combining the European tradition of cheesemaking with Vermont’s terroir, Vermont Creamery’s line of fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and crème fraîche have won over 100 national and international awards.

In its 30th year of business, Vermont Creamery supports a network of more than 15 family farms, promoting sustainable agriculture in the region. B Corp Certified in 2014, Vermont Creamery is the founder of Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, the country’s first demonstration goat dairy. For more information, visit www.vermontcreamery.com.

Farms for City Kids Foundation Takes Best of Show at ACS Judging

Tarentaise Reserve from Farms for City Kids Foundation in Vermont was named “Best of Show” among 1,685 entries at the American Cheese Society’s (ACS) 2014 Judging & Competition. The results were announced in a ceremony on Thursday, July 31, at the 31st Annual ACS Conference in Sacramento. Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company from California was awarded second place overall for its Point Reyes Bay Blue.  In a tie for third place overall are Oakdale Cheese & Specialties’ Aged Gouda from California and Sprout Creek Farm’s Eden from New York.

Jeremy Stephenson, Cheese Program Director of Farms for City Kids Foundation, said of the Best of Show win, “The more I’m involved in this work, the more it becomes clear to me that what we’re doing is so much a part of agriculture and working to develop a new sustainable food system. We’re a small part of that. When we do this work we have to remember we’re part of something much bigger than an individual or individual farm, we’re a part of a community. The people that buy our cheese are supporting something very important for the future.”

The 2014 ACS Judging & Competition saw 1,685 entries of cheeses and cultured dairy products from 248 companies. Entering companies represented 39 U.S. states, 4 Canadian provinces, and Colombia. 325 ribbons were awarded: 89 first place ribbons, 109 second place ribbons, and 127 third place ribbons.

For tie full list of this year’s winners and judges’ bios, visit www.cheesejudging.org.

The 32nd Annual ACS Conference & Competition will take place July 29 – Aug. 1, 2015, in Providence, Rhode Island.

Kingdom Organic Cheddar Captures Three Gold Medals at International Cheese Competition

2933_Kingdom_Winepairings_(USA-A4).inddKingdom Organic Cheddar, one of the newest entries into the U.S. cheese market, captured three top honors this week at the prestigious International Cheese Awards competition held in Nantwich, England.

In competition featuring 4,443 cheeses from 26 countries, Kingdom Organic Cheddar won Gold Awards for Farmhouse/Traditional Mature Cheddar, Export Award, and Cheddar/Cheddar Style.

“The judges at the International Cheese Awards validated what we have known all along: Kingdom isn’t just the only organic European cheese in the U.S. Market, it is the top cheddar in the world,” said Nicola Turner, Export Director at the Organic Milk Suppliers Cooperative (OMSCo,) the organic dairy farmers’ co-op that manages the production of Kingdom Cheese.

Kingdom is a traditionally handcrafted cheddar, made exclusively with milk from a small number of organic family farms located in Devon, in the Southwest of England. The temperate climate and ample moisture in this region creates pastures of lush grasses which impart a unique flavor to the milk.

“Our cows are kept on a simple grass based system with little or no stress, giving us beautiful, natural milk,” said Geoff Thorne, one of the farmers who produces milk for Kingdom Cheddar. “Our cows are on pasture more than 10 months each year with green grass comprising more than 80 percent of their diets.”

The International Cheese Awards is considered one of the most rigorous competitions for cheese makers around the world. More than 200 judges spend two days selecting the world’s top cheeses.

Kingdom Organic Cheddar is available in many Whole Foods Markets, HyVee Markets, select Costco stores, and other natural and specialty retailers. A listing of retailers carrying Kingdom Organic Cheddar is available at: http://www.kingdomcheddar.com/contact-us/stockists/.

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwich Ever

Stonewall Kitchen’s Maple Bacon Aioli adds a delicious fillip to a grilled cheese sandwich. Just spread the aioli on the outside of the bread, in place of the usual butter, and grill the sandwich as usual. The bread browns beautifully with a crispy surface texture, and the maple flavor adds a long finish that’s just fantastic. Glorious!

– Lorrie Baumann

Gustus Vitae Adds Spice to Life

Gustus VitaeGustus Vitae Condiments is a new line of sea salts and spice blends created created from high quality local and international ingredients and then hand-packed into tins in a Los Angeles facility. Unlike many spices and salts available today, Gustus Vitae products are never irradiated, not treated with EtO (Ethylene Oxide) gas, and are free from gluten, soy, MSG, and artificial colors and flavors. Gustus Vitae’s products retail from $8 for individual tins to $159 for gift sets and collections, and are currently available at select Whole Foods Markets, Albertsons, Southern Season and online at www.gustusvitae.com

Gustus Vitae’s gourmet spice blends are crafted to taste like places, allowing delicious meals authentic to different cuisines to be quickly and simply created. It’s easy to create fabulous, fresh dishes like Thai chicken, Jamaican rice, or Tuscan roast potatoes with just a pinch or a rub of seasonings and spice blends.  The Gustus Vitae gourmet sea salts are wonderful finishing touches, naturally adding bursts of flavor and vibrant color to your meals, transforming simple plates into signature dishes.

Naturipe Farms Blueberry Grower Honored as “Champion of Change”

Naturipe for webKristin Fritz Kubiszak of Brookside Farms, a grower for MBG Marketing – The Blueberry People, was one of only 15 national honorees named as a Champion of Change this year by the White House and the United States Department of Agriculture. The award honors agriculture leaders from across the country who are taking innovative approaches to support American farming and ranching—both now and in the future, by showcasing their actions that ensure and advance the future of agriculture.

Kubiszak is the retail manager for Brookside Farms located in Paw Paw, Michigan; and is a fifth-generation member of her family to operate a farm that distributes fresh blueberries through MBG’s cooperative marketing network under the Naturipe® brand. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in social work from Cornerstone University, Kubiszak returned home to her family farm, which focuses on growing and packing top quality blueberries. Kubiszak’s involvement in the agriculture industry doesn’t stop with just her family farm; she also sits on the board of directors for the Van Buren County Farm Bureau as Chair of the Promotion and Education Committee. With this position she has dedicated her time to educating the community with trips to local schools, the Ag Venture tent at the local Youth Fair and other youth and consumer education programs. “Kristin is another member of the Fritz family farming operation that makes us proud that they are part of our MBG and Naturipe families.” said Bob Hawk, President and CEO of MBG Marketing.

Kubiszak’s primary goal is to educate, not only about agriculture, but also how families impact agriculture and how important it is to continue family farms. Brookside Farms started as a dairy farm in 1876 and Kubiszak’s grandfather planted his first blueberry bush in 1956. That was the same year the family joined Michigan Blueberry Growers Association, a grower-owned cooperative, and the year Kubiszak’s father, Bill Fritz, was born. Like his farming predecessors, he has continued the family tradition of active agricultural leadership, by serving on the boards of both MBG Marketing and Naturipe Farms of which MBG is an owner/ partner. “We were absolutely delighted when we learned that Kristin was selected for this program” said Bill. “She is a wonderful representative of the next generation that has the desire and drive to continue our commitment to family farming and the broader agricultural community”.

Kubiszak and the other honorees were congratulated by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack of the USDA and recognized at a ceremony in the White House by Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden and Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Munoz. They were given a tour of the First Lady’s Garden at The White House by Sam Kass, who is President Barack Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy and Let’s Move Executive Director. “It was a true privilege to represent the blueberry industry as a Champion of Change. Since we grow blueberries, which are known for their great flavor and incredible health attributes, I was especially pleased to learn first-hand about some of the efforts by the First Lady to encourage children to eat a healthy, brighter array of fresh fruits and vegetables” said Kubiszak. “It was great to share the story our family blueberry farm. It has always been a passion of mine to educate others about what we do, and this was another great opportunity”.

To learn more about Kubiszak and the other “Champions of Change” visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

 

Morningside Farmer’s Market to Host Harald Wusthof Demonstration

Mary S. Moore, Owner and CEO of The Cook’s Warehouse, will be the guest chef this Saturday morning, August 2, at the Morningside Farmer’s Market, the only all-organic farmers market in Atlanta, Georgia.

Her special sous chef will be Harald Wüsthof, scion of the German knife-making family and managing partner of the worldwide firm. This year is Wüsthof’s 200th anniversary. Chef Moore will be cooking with okra from Crystal Organic Farm. Her recipes will be available at the demonstration, which begins at 9 a.m.

An extra-special front-row guest is Lee Wiggins, who has attended the farmers market’s cooking demonstrations for many years. She will be celebrating her 95th birthday this weekend. Wüsthof will present Lee with a special autographed knife set commemorating the company’s 200th anniversary.

 

Bridor to Expand U.S. Bakery Plant

BridorBridor Inc., which makes authentic European breads and Viennese pastry for the retail and foodservice industry, is expanding its U.S. facility at Vineland, New Jersey. The plant will continue to produce Bridor’s broad line of baguettes, breads and rolls that reflect the company’s 30 years of European heritage and baking mastery. The $32 million expansion will enhance its laminated pastry dough and signature flaky croissant capacity. The enlarged facility will increase from 136,000 square feet to 183,000 square feet, and its employee count will grow from 132 to 177 employees.

“This expansion represents our deep commitment to our U.S. customers and significantly enhances what we can offer them,” said Jean-François Duquesne, CEO, Bridor Inc. and Bridor USA Inc. “We pride ourselves on being an industrial baking company that combines advanced manufacturing technology with traditional European baking techniques. This enables us to produce on a large scale the highest quality, authentic European pastry and breads in the world.”

The pastry line that Bridor will manufacture in its expanded Vineland facility will cater to the taste and other preferences of the U.S. customer. It will include a wide variety of croissants and Viennese pastries with distinctive homemade fillings that incorporate locally-sourced, high quality ingredients. Bridor’s research and development department of master bakers travels the world to stay ahead of consumer trends and baking innovations. The company continuously adapts and makes new bread and pastry products to meet its customers’ evolving needs.

Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar Line Receives Fair Choice Certification

 

Big Tree Farms’ unrefined, organic coconut sugar line has received Fair Choice certification from Control Union Certifications. The acquisition of this certification makes Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar the first and only fair trade coconut sugar on the market. As a pioneer in the fast-growing coconut sugar segment, Big Tree Farms’ certifications extend beyond Fair Trade, including USDA organic, non-GMO and low glycemic certifications. All certifications will be featured on Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar packaging going forward, allowing shoppers to see a clear difference in coconut sugars.

Control Union Certifications are awarded on an enterprise’s ability to commit to stringent social, environmental, and economic development principles. Dedicated to social and environmental responsibility, safe working conditions and fair trade practices, Big Tree Farms is the only vertically integrated brand of coconut sugar on the market. The company works with and supports more than 14,000 family farmers across the archipelagos of Indonesia. Every bag of Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar is harvested from partner farms and processed at Big Tree’s own factories in Indonesia.

Big Tree Farms Coconut Sugar is made from pure flower blossom nectar of the coconut tree. Considered one of the most sustainable sweeteners on the planet, coconut sugar is an unrefined, high nutrient and low glycemic sweetener that can be used in place of anything that normally requires cane sugar. With a 1 to 1 replacement ratio, coconut sugar is an easier substitute compared to other popular alternatives like stevia or agave, which often have a different taste and substitution ratio. Big Tree Farms Organic Coconut Sugar is the only coconut sugar to obtain a low glycemic verification, consistently maintaining a glycemic index of under 40, which also verifies that it is not adulterated with cane sugar.

 

For more information visit www.bigtreefarms.com

 

Passage to Vietnam Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry Sauce

US-3DPack-Vietnam1Passage Foods offers lines of ready-to-use simmer sauces made from all natural ingredients to help home cooks create authentic restaurant-quality Asian dishes in 20 minutes or less. Newest to the brand is the Passage to Vietnam™ Lemongrass Chicken Stir-Fry Sauce, which draws together ingredients such as lemongrass, galangal and lime into a stir-fry with the traditional flavors of Vietnam. Just reading the list of ingredients is like stepping into a white tablecloth Vietnamese restaurant.

Vietnamese cuisine is one of the fastest growing segments in the food category, according to Mintel, and the growth of the Vietnamese population in the U.S. augurs for increasing acceptance and familiarity with Vietnamese flavors among the mainstream population, particularly as American palates become more adventurous and more Americans travel outside the country, where they have the opportunity to taste authentic examples of other culinary traditions.

“It is important to recognize the growth of cuisines from countries like Vietnam,” said Passage Foods’ Mark Mackenzie. “Currently, 80 percent of the Asian category sales originate from mainstream products designed for the U.S. palate, however, the category growth is being driven by authentic products and recipes. With our Lemongrass Chicken sauce, we tried to capture the most authentic and fresh recipe to satisfy the consumer looking for a true Vietnamese meal.”