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Press Releases

March 21, 2018
Expo Showcases Hundreds of Virginia Specialty Foods and Beverages
Entrepreneurs from Hummingbird Gardens, Richmond; Red Root & Co., Harrisonburg and Homestead Creamery, Wirtz, win Best New Product competition
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Both traditional Virginia favorites and innovative new products are on display at the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo taking place today, March 21, at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), this popular trade event connects buyers representing grocery stores, restaurants and gift shops directly with Virginia specialty foods and beverages. The Expo takes place once every two years to promote Virginia products and advance economic development.

Virginia Governor Ralph S. Northam announced the Best New Product Awards during a ceremony at 11 a.m. This year there were 50 entries for awards in three categories—Best New Food, Best New Beverage and Best Product Overall.

The following Virginia companies won this year’s Best New Product competition:

The Best New Product Overall award went to Hummingbird Gardens Rose Chili Salt, produced by Hummingbird Gardens of Richmond.

The Best New Food award went to went to Heirloom Garlic Oxymel, produced by Red Root & Co of Harrisonburg.

Homestead Creamery of Wirtz., Va. took home the Best New Beverage honor for its Golden Milk.

A panel of judges that included chefs and food writers evaluated the Best New Product competition entries on originality, taste and aroma, creative packaging and visual appeal. Judges were Meredyth Archer, owner, Mother Shrub (Best New Product Winner – 2016); Phaedra Hise, food writer, Style Weekly; Matt Kirwan, executive chef, The Shaved Duck Restaurant; Toby Vernon, founder and executive director, Community Food Collaborative;
Katerina Charalambidis, bartender, Southbound and Little Nickel.

This was a record year for the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo with almost 180 exhibitors and more than 1,250 registered attendees (buyers and media).

At the end of the event, Expo exhibitors will have an opportunity to donate unused foods and beverages to FeedMore, Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization dedicated to providing healthy meals and hope for a better tomorrow to neighbors in their times of need.  Spanning nearly one-third of the state, across 34 counties and cities, FeedMore’s comprehensive programs and network of close to 300 agencies distributes food to the more than 200,000 Central Virginians who struggle with hunger. 

For show-related updates, follow #VAExpo18 and VDACS on Twitter and Facebook. The next Virginia Food and Beverage Expo is scheduled for 2020.  Watch for show updates on vafinest.com.

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