The Hudson Valley’s finest chocolatiers, farmers, and tea blenders are excelling in the prestigious 2019 Good Food Awards. In assessing candidates, the Good Food Foundation pays close attention to a company’s social and environmental sustainability, their community involvement, and, of course, the quality of their product.
We’re happy to report on the five upstate New York businesses that beat out over 1,500 contenders to make the list of Good Food Awards finalists. The winners will be drawn at a gala in San Francisco on January 17, 2020.
The meat curing process is a slow and precarious venture, with many variables that require either a large amount of research or a long history. Following the traditions of norcini—butchers that travelled the Italian countryside preparing and seasoning meat—the formula at Casella’s Salumi in Hurleyville is steeped in old-world ways. They start with humanely raised, small family-farm pigs—rare heritage breeds that have been raised for generations to culture the perfect balance of fat and muscle. Then, with the proper knowledge of salting, seasoning, and timing, Casella’s creators craft cured perfection that brings out the nuttiness, juiciness, and individual flavor of the meat, as exemplified by their award-winning Prosciutto Especial. Their product can be found in gourmet markets across the Hudson Valley. Oink! They have our vote.
Fruition Chocolate Works
Spring Salted Dark Milk, Dominican Hispaniola Dark, and Madagascar Sambirano Dark
The Hudson Valley is full of treasures hidden in plain view. The Fruition Chocolate Works factory is located next to a pizzeria off of Route 28, in a building where customers can watch employees as they make, package, and deliver ethically sourced, small-batch products ranging from chocolate-covered pistachios to a rich hot chocolate mix. It’s no wonder Fruition was nominated for three different chocolate bars, ranging from a milky to a pure dark essence. These sensational products can be found in markets, cafes, or at the company’s Woodstock location.
ImmuneSchein Ginger Elixirs
Ginger Turmeric Scrolleez
Any health nut knows that turmeric and ginger are important medicine-pantry warriors in the fight against cold and flu season. ImmuneSchein, based out of West Hurley, NY, is the creator of a Turmeric-Ginger elixir, which took home a Good Food Award in 2019. This year they've been shortlisted for their new candy: ginger-turmeric scrolleez. The creators at ImmuneSchein are experienced and skilled crafters, using organic ginger, turmeric, and lemons to blend their immune-boosting tonics and candies in small-batched perfection. As they say on their site, “No Water. No Vinegar. No Tea. No Alcohol. No Powders. No Additives. No Extracts, No Fillers. No Oils. No Artificial Flavors & No Preservatives. Just Food!”
Seek North Kombucha
Seek Immunity (Elderflower/Pineapple)
We’re bursting with pride to report that a former Luminary Media employee, Julian Lesser, started Seek North with his partner Philippe Trinh, and in a few short years their immune-boosting elderflower/pineapple flavor has been shortlisted for a Good Food Award. The product, made in small batches in their Kingston kitchen, is raw and unfiltered. The probiotics found in each drink aid digestive health and promote immunity. Using a cutting-edge technology called the Spinning Cone Column (SCC), SeekNorth separates the alcohol content from the kombucha without affecting the probiotic or nutrient profile, making them one of the only virtually alcohol-free booch brands. SeekNorth’s kombucha is available in restaurants, markets, and breweries in Newburgh, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, and Monroe.
Nettle Meadow Farm and Artisan Cheese
Though closer to Lake George than it is to Cooper Lake, we’re sneaking a wee bit outside of our coverage area to adopt Nettle Meadow and their damn good, award-winning Kunik cheese. Plus restaurants throughout the Hudson Valley serve it up on their cheese boards, and with good reason. Finishing second in the 2019 US Cheese Championships and a previous winner of the Good Food Award, the goat-milk-and-cow-cream blend is as rich and tangy with a side of sliced fruit as it is lathered on a hunk of rustic bread. Nettle Meadow Farm in Warrensburg provides a sanctuary for animals of all species and ages, practices humane animal husbandry practices, like respecting the natural production period of their goats, and offers adoptions of their younger critters that have been dropped off or rescued. Turns out happier animals make better cheese.