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McDonnell congratulates Virginia’s Finest

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virginia-blue-oversizeGov. Bob McDonnell today congratulated the Virginia Chutney Company and Feast! for top awards they received last night at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s (NASFT) 2013 sofi™ Awards Ceremony, which is part of NASFT’s annual Summer Fancy Foods Show in New York City.  The two family-owned and operated companies are part of a delegation of the more than thirty Virginia’s Finest companies showcasing their specialty food products at the Fancy Foods Show, the largest such event in the United States.  Two other Virginia-based companies were finalists in other categories as well.

McDonnell stated, “I congratulate the Virginia Chutney Company and Feast! for the top awards they received last night, and I salute all the other specialty food companies that are attracting more attention for Virginia at the Fancy Foods Show.  These Virginia’s Finestcompanies, most of which are family-owned and operated, and so many others are creating jobs and generating revenue throughout the state, but especially in rural areas.  Virginia’s agricultural products and specialty foods already have a sterling reputation in the global marketplace and the awards won and new sales generated will enhance further our standing around the world.  That’s just one reason I decided to integrate fully the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry industries into my administration’s overall economic development and jobs creation agenda.  The strategy is yielding results and new successes now and will continue to do so in the future.”

The Virginia Chutney Company of Washington, Virginia won a top award in the condiment category for its Spicy Plum Chutney.  Also, Feast!, a specialty food store in Charlottesville, won an Outstanding Retailer award.  Feast! was selected as one of five outstanding retailers in the nation for highlighting the growing specialty food industry in Virginia and for their support of small farmers and artisanal food producers.

The three-day Fancy Food Show, which wraps up today at New York’s Jacob Javits Center, brings in more than 40,000 attendees from more than 80 countries around the world to see and sample 260,000 innovative specialty food products each year.  One of the highlights of the show is the annual sofi™awards ceremony.  These awards from NASFT are the highest honor in the specialty food industry.  Sofi™, which stands for “specialty outstanding food innovation,” award winners and finalists represent the best of the best in specialty food and beverages.  This year’s finalists were selected from 1,885 entries from members of the Specialty Food Association.  A national panel of specialty food experts selected 109 finalists across 30 awards categories.

In addition to the Virginia Chutney Company, the other two Virginia finalists, their products in nominated categories, and locations included:

•         Olli Salumeria, Pepperoni (meat, pâté, seafood category) of Mechanicsville, and;

•         Route 11 Potato Chips, Lightly Salted Chips (snack food category), of Mt. Jackson.

The Virginia Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is hosting a major pavilion where most of the Virginia’s Finest companies are stationed.  Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore represented the Governor at the event yesterday and VDACS Marketing and Development staff are on hand to assist the Virginia companies and to facilitate new sales discussions with domestic and foreign buyers.  A number of international leads were secured during the Governor’s most recent trade missions to Asia and Europe.

Virginia foods at the show include confections, snacks, spices, ethnic foods, hot sauces, peanuts, ham, potato chips, oils, natural and organic products, fruitcakes, sparkling ciders, pasta, pudding, cakes and cookies, gluten free products, frozen hors d’oeuvres/appetizers and much more.

Agriculture and forestry are Virginia’s largest industries, with a combined economic impact of $79 billion annually:  $55 billion from agriculture and $24 billion from forestry.  The industries also provide approximately 500,000 jobs in the Commonwealth according to the Weldon Cooper for Public Service at the University of Virginia.

For more information and a list of exhibiting companies from Virginia, seewww.vafinest.com/news.shtml.

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