The Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards has assessed 57 producers as finalists in its inaugural awards. A panel of 10 expert food judges tasted more than 150 products from 82 growers, farmers and crafted producers earlier this month at the Fresh Factory in Auckland.
Finalists span the range of kiwi produce from primary products such as tomatoes from T & G Global, Curious Croppers and Farm Eighty4, seafood from Cloudy Bay Clams and Keewai, dairy such as buffalo milk products from Clevedon Buffalo and goats, sheep and cow cheeses, Lemongrass Ants from Christchurch producer Anteater, non-alcoholic drinks and cordials, relishes, pickles, sauces, baked goods and more.
Awards organiser Kathie Bartley says “being a finalist means producers are the ‘best of the best’. Outstanding NZ Food Producer Finalists have the opportunity to showcase their status by attaching finalist medals to their packaging and using the awards logo on their website and in all their marketing.”
Head Judge Lauraine Jacobs said, “It was exciting to judge these new awards and see so many innovative and interesting products. It reinforces my view that in New Zealand we have some of the finest food in the world, whether it is straight from the farm or ocean, or has been value-added to meet the demand of a world seeking sustainably produced food filled with flavour.”
The judging panel was; respected food writer and champion of New Zealand cuisine, Head Judge, Lauraine Jacobs; Enzo Bettio, founder of Delmaine Foods and owner of Vin Alto; Anna Tait-Jamieson, NZ Life & Leisure, food editor; Lucy Corry, NZ Life & Leisure contributor and food writer; Mat McLean, head chef/owner of Palate Restaurant, Hamilton and Beef & Lamb New Zealand Platinum Ambassador; Sam Mannering, chef/co-owner of The Homestead Company, Auckland; Kathy Paterson, food writer; Nick Honeyman, head chef/owner of Paris Butter, Auckland; Trudi Nelson, food writer, broadcaster and co-owner of Fresh and Emily King (Sustainable Business Network food programme).
New Zealanders have until the end of this month (Friday 31 March) to vote for their favourite Farmers’ Market, Specialty Food Store or Supermarket, Food Region or Product or Producer. Voting is via the website and the overall results will be announced April 27.