Six Maine companies receive Good Food Awards

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Black Dinah owners from right, Steve and Kate Shaffer hold up their winning mint truffle with an employee. This is the second Good Food Award for the Isle Au Haut chocolatiers who recently moved headquarters to Westbrook.

Which Maine companies are creating “vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies”? According to the Good Food Awards announced Friday night in San Francisco: Rising Tide, Black Dinah, Bixby & Co., Turtle Rock Farm, Gold Star Honeybees and Posto Bello Apiaries we salute you!

In a pool of 1,927 entrants, these artisans rose to the top.

“We are so proud of our entrepreneurs and successful small businesses,” said George Gervais, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development in a prepared statement. “These Good Food Award finalists represent our unique food industry which continues to attract worldwide attention.”

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A gourmet Reeses made in Rockland

Beyond distinguishing themselves by receiving top scores from 215 judges, all finalists passed a rigorous vetting to confirm they met specific Good Food Awards standards around environmentally sound agriculture practices, good animal husbandry, transparency, and responsible relationships throughout the supply chain.

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Jenn Legnini, owner of Turtle Rock Farm serves her winning preserves.

That’s all well and good, but what does this mean to consumers? Something delicious. In a pre-tasting event earlier this month at Rising Tide’s newly expanded Portland brewery, the eight nominated Pine Tree purveyors gathered to toast the news.

The energy in the room, brewers hanging with coffee roasters, bearded cheese makers handing out creamy dollops of fromage while sipping Rising Tide’s Daymark (the winner), tightened the bond that forms in Maine’s emerging industries. Though Portland’s Speckled Ax did not win (say what?) in the coffee category owner Matt Bolinder represented with a portable pour-over setup. Chilling with Rising Tide’s affable staff, the wood-fired roaster compared the brewer’s rich winter ale to a deep Ethiopian roast. Only in Portland!

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Stasia Brewczynski, tasting room manager at Rising Tide Brewing Co. and Bolinger of Speckled Ax converse at the award celebration in Portland.

On Saturday, January 16, the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco transforms into the Good Food Mercantile. Winners and members of the Good Food Merchants Guild exhibit their goods to 400 industry buyers and media. A Good Food Awards Marketplace rounds out the weekend on Sunday, January 17.

Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.