By Susan Able, Edible DC The Capital Region’s food artisans were well represented at the Summer Fancy Food show in NYC.
Just closing yesterday afternoon, the 2015 Summer Fancy Food Show (SFFS) held June 28-30, had over 2,600 product vendors pitching everything from sriracha flavors, to exotic teas, cheese infused with kale, goat milk caramels and lavender chocolate nuts. Over 22,000 attendees crowded through the Javits Convention Center on the west side of Manhattan to taste, talk and size up the vendors as they searched for new, novel, great tasting and on trend products for their stores or customers. The great news was that all the packaged food samples are collected at the end of the show and given to City Harvest, a NYC gleaning non-profit. 200 volunteers gather up all the specialty foods and fill more than six tractor trailers to give to the hungry.
The Virginia Pavilion was one of the largest of the state pavilions this year, sponsored by Virginia’s Finest, a state marketing program designed to promote the success of Virginia’s specialty food companies, processors and agriculture producers. Virginia producers were well represented by almost every peanut company in the state (think Williamsburg, Whitely’s and Virginia Diner), popcorn, gourmet chocolate makers, chutney, mango preserves, crab pie and peanut butter makers. We chatted with CEO Sarah Cohen of Route 11 Potato Chips, headquartered in Mt. Jackson, VA. She has been chipping for 23 years and is a regular trade show attendee. This year, as the show opened and Sarah was arranging the display in her booth, a very large national retailer made a beeline to talk to her about coming on board as a buyer and distributer of Route 11 chips. That kind of thing is exciting to food entrepreneur and while deals like that don’t happen everyday at the SFFS, Sarah sees attending as good promotion for her brand and praises the Virginia First’s program as a great booster for Virginia food businesses. (www.rt11.com)
We also ran into a DC area favorite, Trickling Springs Creamery from Chambersburg, PA who had wheeled in a entire dairy case of their products that have had us at hello--ice cream, milk, drinkable yogurt smoothies, and oh yes, the dark chocolate milk. (tricklingspringscreamery.com)
Firehook Bakery, the retail bakery and cracker maker headquartered out of Chantilly, VA, was introducing a line of crackers made with hummus and showcasing their cookies. (firehook.com)
S. Wallace Edwards & Sons of Surry, VA showcased their award winning hams and a new product that will have a lot of interest--lamb ham. The Edwards ham curing experts teamed up with reknowned lamb producer, Craig Rogers, owner of Virginia's Border Springs grass-fed lamb farm, to create the "lamb ham." Lamb ham has a long history dating back to colonial times, for more info, follow this link to a story from NPR. The spring delicacy was a fixture of American foodways in colonial times, gracing the tables of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. (For more company info, go to www.edwardsvaham.com.)
The family behind Virginia Chutney was there—their hot pepper jelly and chutneys are distributed nationally, and are widely available at area Whole Foods Markets and other grocers. (www.virginiachutney.com)
Our pals with the chickpea snacks, 2 Armadillos, profiled in our fall issue last year have had a name change—Whatusee. They've also updated their packaging and will be rolling out the new look all fall. (www.2armadillos.com)
The Van Cleve Seafood Company has a long history of being first a seafood purveyor, and got so much acclaim for their crab pies that they have turned their focus to selling and marketing only crab and scallop pies, available locally at Balducci’s and some Whole Foods Markets and via ordering online at their website. (vancleveseafood.com)
We ended up talking to the team at Virginia’s Finest, started 25 years ago under the aegis of the VA Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as the Specialty Food Advisory Committee. The goal of the committee is to market and promote Virginia’s specialty food and beverage industry. Companies that meet or exceed quality standards can become part of the Virginia’s Finest program. For more information, go to vafinest.com.
Amazing to see the ingenuity and entrepreneurs from our area in person. The Edible DC teams wishes everyone the best of luck and great outcomes from the show.