Four local food producers capture national awards

  • Workers fill jars with organic beets at Real Pickles in Greenfield. Wednesday. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Workers fill jars with organic beets at Real Pickles in Greenfield. January 16, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz

  • Real Pickles award winning products. January 16, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ—Paul Franz

  • Some of the worker owners at Real Pickles in Greenfield are Tamara McKerchie, Brendan Flannelly-King, Alex Kestyn, Lucy Kahn and Annie Winkler. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 1/16/2019 11:31:03 PM

San Francisco may be the showcase for the Good Food Awards, a collection of national awards given each year to food and drink makers who create tasty, authentic and responsible products and, in doing so, better the nation’s food system.

But that didn’t keep four – count ‘em: four – Franklin County businesses from winning awards at the 900-person Good Foods gala last week. The only other Massachusetts winners west of the Boston area was “Fire Cider” from Pittsfield.

Real Pickles, the Greenfield co-operative, was among 224 winners in 16 food categories at the ninth annual awards for 2019, where renowned chef Alice Waters and Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini presented awards for the Greenfield company’s organic dill pickles and its organic kraut.

The organic garlic featured in both was grown at Next Barn Over Farm in Hadley, Old Friends Farm in Amherst, and Riverland Farm in Sunderland.

Real Pickles organic garlic dills also won Good Food awards in 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2016.

“We’re so proud to receive these awards,” said Real Pickles sales manager Kristin Howard, who accepted the award at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center with fermentation manager, Katie Korby. “Producing socially and environmentally responsible food is at the core of Real Pickles’ mission, and we’re honored to be recognized in this unique way, alongside producers nationwide who have similar values.”

One of those other manufacturers is Colrain’s Stoneman Brewery for its Tractor Ryed IPA, for which Korby and her husband, owner and brewmaster Justin Korby, accepted the award.

Tractor Ryed, which was created by the 4-year-old brewery to mark the 25th anniversary of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, was one of two Stoneman Indian Pale Ales nominated for the award, along with its Dragon Beam Double IPA.

“All of my beers use over 50 percent locally and regionally sourced ingredients,” said Korby.

A third winning Franklin County food producer is BoHo Chocolate from Leverett. BoHo, which has 17 different “bean to bar” handcrafted chocolates after about 3½ years of business, won for its 70 percent Dark Cacao Nib Crunch Bar.

Chocolate maker Charles Burke, who also builds custom homes, says he moved production last August from a “tiny space” in Leverett to a larger facility in Florence, and he’s been adding flavors to his line of chocolates roasted, ground, winnowed and manufactured from personally selected cacao beans from farmers and co-ops in Guatemala, Belize, Bolivia and elsewhere.

BoHo (think “Bohemian”) was also a Good Food finalist for its Spicy Chai bar, said Burke. Its Dark Cacao Nib Crunch Bar also won a silver medal from the British Academy of Chocolate.

The fourth Franklin County producer, C&C Orchards in Sunderland, won for its New York Wildflower Honey.

Founded in 2002, C&C’s Carin Zinter describes the business as one where “700,000 carbon-free, bio-fueled, ozone-friendly bees produce our honey, pollinating more than 18,000 acres of carbon-converting forest and grassland in the process, resulting in honey that is absolutely pure. The tractor, the car that takes the honey to market, and the people who turn the crank on the honey-extractor are bio-fueled.”

In addition to Sunderland, C&C operates in central Vermont and Ulster County, N.Y. Last year, said co-owner Chase Emmons, its Western Massachusetts honey won a Good Food Award.

There are more than 2,000 entries each year for the Good Food Award, in which three food producers in each category and from each region – North, South, East, West and Central – are selected.


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