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Hudson Valley producers are finalists for Best Specialty Foods 2014

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Among some of the more unusual specialty foods that made the finals in the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 sofi™ Awards contest were: beet yogurt from New York’s Hudson Valley, fruit gels from Hawaii and Sriracha popcorn from Washington state. A “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation and is considered the highest honor in the $88 billion specialty food industry.

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Finalists from the Hudson Valley and their categories included:

Category: Perishable Foodservice Product
Coach Farm Enterprise’s Aged Grating Stick: Aged until they are hard, these cheeses have grown stronger in flavor. Delicious grated on pasta, sprinkled on salad or served as is. Coach Farm is faithful to the traditional methods of the French farmstead cheesemaker, turning out authentic, artisanal goat cheeses from a herd of more than 900 French Alpine dairy goats.
Coach Farm Enterprise, 105 Mill Hill Road, Pine Plains; 518.398-5825

Category: Cheese or Dairy Product
Blue Hill Beet Yogurt: “Packing a smorgasbord of flavor, our beets get a tangy boost from raspberry vinegar.” Only 110 calories for a six-ounce serving. Blue Hill Farm is a family-owned farm that was a working dairy farm until the 1960’s. Three decades later it has brought the dairy back to life.
Blue Hill Farm at Stone Barns, 630 Bedford Road, Potantico Hills; 914.366.9600

Coach Farm Enterprise’s Rawstruck Raw Goat Milk Aged Cheese - Coach Farm introduces its first ever Raw Milk Aged Goat Cheese. Made in small quantities just one day out of each month, this bloomy rind cheese is aged for 60 days to develop a rich complex flavor with nuances of earthy mushrooms and a faint hint of citrus. Unlike its pasteurized counterpart, the flavor lingers a bit longer to make sure you remember it.
Coach Farm Enterprise, 105 Mill Hill Road, Pine Plains; 518.398-5825

Category: Jam, Preserve, Honey, Nut Butter
Katchkie Farm’s Tomato Jam – “Sweet, spreadable and deliciously versatile” - Nothing goes on more food than tomato jam. It’s not just a jam and definitely not ketchup. Spread it on toast, add a dollop on top of your eggs, or eat it on meat to add personality and flavor. The tomato jam has some kick to it (must be the cayenne pepper and ginger) but goes down smooth. It’s the perfect balance of both sweet and savory flavors.
A portion of the proceeds from every jar sold supports The Sylvia Center. The mission of The Sylvia Center is to inspire children to establish independent healthy eating habits—so that they may lead healthy and productive lives. Katchkie Farm is a year-round organic farm owned by Great Performances.
Karchkie Farm, 34 Fischer Road, Kinderhook; 212.337.6090

A national panel of specialty food professionals tasted and evaluated 2,025 specialty foods and beverages across 30 categories to come up with their list of 109 finalists. The tastings were held over a five-day period with a panel of judges that include top buyers, some executive chefs, a food historian and food journalists.

Winners will be announced at a red-carpet ceremony on June 30, 2014, at the Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. The event will be hosted by Dominique Ansel, the noted pastry chef of cronut fame. The awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association, a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs.

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