Published on 02/14/19

State's top food products make the final round of University of Georgia's 2019 Flavor of Georgia contest

By Merritt Melancon

Judges selected 33 products to compete in the final round of the University of Georgia’s 2019 Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest set for March 19 in Atlanta.

The contest is the state’s premier proving ground for small, upstart food companies as well as time-honored products. This year’s finalists represent all corners of the state and the best of Georgia’s diverse culinary heritage.

The finalists passed the first round of judging and were selected from a field of 138 products in 11 categories.

Finalists will bring their products to Atlanta for the final round of judging, which will be held in conjunction with the Georgia Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Awareness Week celebration, set for March 18-22. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black has designated March 19 as Flavor of Georgia Day.

“Once again, the level of innovation and talent represented in our contest has left us amazed and excited for things to come,” said Sharon P. Kane, contest coordinator and economist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences’ (CAES) Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

“Georgia is home to some of the most creative minds in the food business, and the Flavor of Georgia contest is our yearly reminder of how lucky we are to live in a state that values entrepreneurship and good food.”

A food business development specialist, Kane and her center colleagues have organized the annual contest since 2007.

Judges for the final round of the contest will include food brokers, grocery buyers and other food-industry experts. Judges evaluate entries by category based on their Georgia theme, commercial appeal, taste, innovation and market potential. Contestants will provide samples to judges and pitch their products in a “Shark Tank”-style presentation. Finalists will be named in each category, and a grand prize winner and People’s Choice Award winner will be named.

This year’s finalists are listed by company, product name and city. All entries are from Georgia-based businesses.

Barbecue Sauces:

  • Aubs Company LLC, AubSauce, Decatur
  • Byne Blueberry Farms Inc., Blueberry Barbecue Sauce, Waynesboro
  • Chinese Southern Belle, Wild Wild East Asian BBQ Teriyaki Pineapple, Smyrna



  • FreshKiss Tea, Hibiscus Kombucha, Palmetto
  • Montane Sparkling Spring Water, Grapefruit Peach, Atlanta
  • Nectar Foods Two Inc., Nectar Ready To Blend Smoothies, Decatur


Condiments & Salsas:

  • Abby J's Gourmet, Blackhawk Smokin' Hot Pickled Okra, Clarkesville
  • Built By Bees, Tupelo Balsamic Vinegar, Atlanta
  • Pine Street Market, Bacon Jam, Avondale Estates 



  • A Cacao Affair, Macarons, Marietta
  • FarmHouse PoundCakes LLC, Luscious Lemon, Cornelia
  • Pie Provisions, Georgia Blueberry Pie Filling, Kennesaw 


Dairy Products:

  • Pine Street Market, Pimento Cheese, Avondale Estates
  • Smith Family Dairy Farm, Silly Goat Cheese, Norman Park
  • Suga's Enterprises LLC, Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese, Powder Springs


Honey & Related Products:

  • Built By Bees, Blueberry Whipped Honey, Atlanta
  • Classic City Bee Company, Smoked Honey, Athens
  • H. L. Franklin's Healthy Honey, Creamed Honey with Chocolate, Statesboro


Jams & Jellies:

  • Elusive Jams LLC, Fig Bourbon Jam, White
  • Fairywood Thicket Farm, Phenomenal Cosmic Strawberry Jam, Fairburn
  • Savy Confections, Black Cherry Pecan Jam, Fairburn


Meats & Seafood:

  • Epting Events, Beef Short Ribs, Athens
  • Jensen Reserve, Coppa Roast, Loganville
  • Pouch Pies, Chicken, Butternut, Leek & Thyme Pie, Norcross



  • Georgia Grinders, Pecan-Peanut Butter, Atlanta
  • Hunter Cattle, Farm Boy's Cane Syrup, Brooklet
  • Olive Orchards of Georgia, Olive Oil, Quitman


Sauces & Seasonings:

  • Bacon's Heir, Pork Panko, Chamblee
  • Beautiful Briny Sea, Gun Powder Finishing Salt, Atlanta
  • Kay's Cookery, Habeeb's Honey Braised Sauce, Lawrenceville


Snack Foods:

  • Bodacious Food Company, Mama Geraldine's Pimento Cheese Straws, Jasper
  • Hardy's Peanuts Inc., Delicious Dill Pickle Party Peanuts, Hawkinsville
  • The Religious Nuts Company, Cin-Amen, Atlanta


The Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest is organized by the UGA CAES Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development with support from the Office of the Georgia Governor, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Grown, Gourmet Foods International, the Georgia Agribusiness Council, Nadine’s Classic Cuisine and Georgia CEO.

More information about the contest is available at and by following the contest on Twitter @FlavorofGA or on Instagram at

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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