Published on 05/23/19

Terrell County 4-H takes top prize at Georgia 4-H Food Product Development Contest

By Merritt Melancon

Most Americans may not know what kompot is, but if Terrell County’s 4-H Food Development Team has anything to say about it, that may soon change.

The team’s riff on this traditional Eastern European brewed fruit drink won first place in Georgia 4-H’s 2019 Food Product Development Contest. Along with four other county 4-H food product development teams, the Terrell County team presented their idea on Saturday, May 18, on the Athens campus of the University of Georgia.

“First off, you are all winners for making it this far,” said Anand Mohan, UGA Cooperative Extension coordinator for the UGA Department of Food Science and Technology and new product development expert, told the contestants. “But when I saw this container, I knew there was something right with this. I’m telling you kids that if you wanted to take this to the market, you would have no problem selling this.”

This is the second year that the Terrell County 4-H Club has presented their Southern Creek brand kompot beverage at the contest. They took home third place in 2018 with their Southern Creek Burri-licious fruit drink.

Traditionally, kompot is a beverage made by brewing fruit and sugar with water to make a highly sweet fruit tea. The fruit is strained from the brew before it is served, team member Sebastian Shattle explained to the judges. The 4-H team worked to create a version that's not as sweet to market under their Southern Creek brand.

As part of the contest, the 4-H’ers must develop a recipe for a new food product, research the market for the product, create a marketing plan, and design a food safety and manufacturing plan for the product. Next, they pitch their product to a panel of judges from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Department of Food Science and Technology.

All of the teams who competed in this year’s food product development contest focused on products that were healthy and convenient. This year’s product proposals included a shelf-stable yogurt snack, a honey-tinged oatmeal breakfast bar, a fruit and granola bar, and an on-the-go fruit salsa snack. 

In addition to Terrell County’s first-place win, the judges recognized the following students:

  • In second place, Floyd County 4-H’s Clover Cookie Team: Mason Daniel, Karmen Holbert, Riley Holbert and Veeka Malanchuk
  • In third place, Habersham County 4-H’s Owl Go Bar Team: Mercy Bowen, Christine Budd, Camden Hughes, Tabitha Ramey and Tianna Ramey
  • With an honorable mention, Haralson County 4-H’s Yogurt Active Powder team: Ayshanna Frazier, Rachel Ibbetson, Rebekah Ibbetson and Jozie Mize
  • With an honorable mention, Madison County 4-H’s Southern Sun Salsa team: Clayton Adams, Alyssa Goldman, Kaylie Goldman, Alexis Gross and Parker Varnadoe

The Terrell County team will receive 4-H Master status and will be recognized at 4-H State Congress in July. They will also be invited to participate in UGA’s Flavor of Georgia food product contest event in Atlanta during Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week. 

After the contestants presented, they heard from Abby Jackson, who parlayed her successful fly-fishing camp in the north Georgia mountains into a successful gourmet salsa and condiment brand, Abby J’s.

“If you have a dream, if you have something that you really love doing, do it,” Jackson told the high schoolers. “If you have something that really moves you, you need to check it out. You need to follow your passion … You may not have a product that will change the world, but you don’t know where your dreams are going to take you.”

For more information about the wide range of programs offered by Georgia 4-H, visit

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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