The small business sector in Ohio is extremely important to many stakeholders. The Center for Innovative Food Technology (CIFT) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) sponsored the Ohio Signature Food Contest which showcases many new, innovative products ready to take that next step – actual product development.
CIFT vice president and director of agricultural programs, Rebecca Singer, and Connie Ward, business development field director, OFBF, announced the two winners selected in recognition of their product concepts:
- Garlic Scape Pesto by Adam Fried (Akron, Ohio) – A unique garlic-flavored pesto made from Ohio-grown scapes. Because scapes are only available once/year this future product plans to become the only item of its kind, and is perfect to add a fresh garlic flavor to salads or foods from the grill.
- Indian Creek Corn Whiskey Mustard by Kathleen Hanover (Dayton, Ohio) – This savory, artisanal grainy mustard is made from a blend of two different kinds of mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar, apple-smoked spices, brown sugar, pickling spices and maple syrup, flavored with small-batch, copper-distilled corn whiskey made in Ohio’s Miami County.
Following a review of written applications and presentations by food entrepreneurs and chefs to a panel of judges, the highest scoring concepts were selected based on the viability of the product, commercialization potential, business strategy, and overall appeal to the marketplace.
As a result of the award, technical assistance from CIFT will be provided to the start up businesses ranging from business planning, product/process development, shelf stability testing, labeling review, regulatory assistance, and batch product preparations for sampling. Later, production will take place at the Northwest Ohio Cooperative Kitchen (NOCK) in Bowling Green, Ohio. The NOCK is a commercially-licensed kitchen that educate and provide technical assistance to new and growing food businesses.