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January 22, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Local ‘good foods’ win national honors

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These foods leave a good taste in your mouth in more ways than one. They’re the winners of the 2013 “Good Food Awards,” a national honor for “people who make food that is delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.” Washington state producers took home five of the 100 awards in the third annual ceremony, which was hosted by Alice Waters in San Francisco over the weekend. The honorees were chosen from 1,366 entries through blind tastings.

Seattle-based Firefly Kitchens took home its third straight award for its fermented foods, winning this year for its cabbage-beet Ruby Red Kraut, after winning in 2012 for Cortido Kraut and in 2011 for Yin Yang Carrots.

It’s a huge honor to be recognized for “all the hard work of doing something the long slow way, doing it the right way,” Firefly co-founder Julie O’Brien said in a call from San Francisco. She and business partner Richard Climenhage began the business for the health benefits of kimchi and kraut and other specialties, but to be recognized for the flavor of its products as well is especially rewarding. Waters told the group that “you guys are helping train people’s palates, because we’ve gone so far off course as eaters in this country,” she said.

Another fermented foods winner was Midori Farm in Port Townsend, recognized for its Organic Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut & Organic Kimchi & Organic Savory Kraut. I was just talking with Justin Marx of Marx Foods about his love for the “delightfully clean” Midori kraut, grown and fermented by farmers Hanako Myers and Marko Colby. Preserve wins went to the Orleans Vinegar from Alpenfire Orchards, a Port Townsend-based cidery, and the Raspberry Habanero Jam & Tayberry Jam from Johnson Berry Farm in Olympia. (Who says we don’t have a canvolution underway?)

Washington also had one winner in the chocolate category — Fresco Chocolate, based in Lynden, for its PNG220 bar, which the company describes as “exceptionally fruity with complex tropical notes.” (The company also scored an award last year for a different bar.)

The complete list is online here.

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