Good Food Awards Honors the Good, the Responsible, and the Delicious | CUESA

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January 22, 2021

Good Food Awards Honors the Good, the Responsible, and the Delicious

For more than a decade, the Good Food Awards has recognized food makers who are going above and beyond to hone their craft, creating products that not only taste good, but do good by supporting local and sustainable farms, paying workers fair wages, and fostering transparency.

Despite a challenging year for small food businesses, the Good Food Awards received 1,928 entries from across the country, and judges gathered remotely to taste and evaluate the contenders at home. “It’s been a rough year for a lot of folks, and we are grateful and humbled to have such a great community and to be recognized by the Good Food Awards,” says David Murphy of Ugly Pickle Co., a first-time finalist. “In a world where it seems like the work never stops and there’s a never-ending list of obstacles, it’s a nice excuse to pause and share a celebratory moment together.”

Over the years, CUESA has been proud to see so many members of our farmers market community recognized by the Good Food Awards, and this year is no different. From miso to kraut, here are seven 2021 finalists you can find at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and the stories behind them. Honor the winners at the Good Food Awards virtual ceremony tonight, and seek out these tasty foods at the farmers market tomorrow!

Aedan Fermented Foods: Sauce of Nostalgia

“This sauce was born at CUESA’s farmers market,” says Mariko Grady of Aedan Fermented Foods, whose mission is to help people prepare healthy meals at home. A blend of country miso, amazake, and sesame oil, her Sauce of Nostalgia can be used as a dip for crudité or a companion for sautéed vegetables, pasta, and tofu. “Since 2013 Aedan has been a part of CUESA, and every Saturday we have provided our koji products and had a lot of inspiration and conversation with customers and other businesses,” says Mariko. “We put our many good memories into our Sauce of Nostalgia.” Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

Almanac Beer Co.: Meeting Place and Blueberry Sierra

Alameda-based brewery Almanac Beer Co. has deep roots in the farmers market, working with small family farms to make their fruited sour ales. A collaboration with Blackberry Farm Brewery in Tennessee, their Meeting Place ale is brewed with California and Tennessee grown malts and aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces. Almanac’s Blueberry Sierra is a Flanders-style sour ale aged with organic berries from Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm (also at the Ferry Plaza). “We’ve worked with Sierra Cascade for a number of years so it was really exciting to be able to build a beer to exclusively highlight their amazing fruit,” says Annalena Barrett of Almanac. She recommends pairing it with berry crumble from Three Babes Bakeshop or RoliRoti chicken. Note: Almanac will have limited bottles of Blueberry Sierra at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market tomorrow. Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

Little Apple Treats: Apple Balsamic Vinegar

Little Apple Treats is the sister company of the Sebastopol-based Flatland Flower Farm, which grows the heirloom apples for their farmstead vinegars, shrubs, caramels, and granolas. Their Apple Balsamic Vinegar is Little Apple’s seventh(!) product to be recognized by Good Food Awards. “It was a labor of love,” says Joanne Krueger. “We decided to see if we could do a traditional type of balsamic, using the barrels we had locally available to impart flavor.” The vinegar was aged for four years in white wine, red wine, port, and whisky barrels, then bottled in artful violet glass bottles from the Netherlands. Joanne recommends using it in salads, on roasted carrots, or in a mocktail with bubbly water and several slices of blood orange and Meyer lemon. Little Apple Treats is currently on hiatus from the farmers market, but their products are available online.

Tomales Farmstead Creamery: Atika

Tomales Farmstead Creamery’s Atika is an aged farmstead goat and sheep cheese, made 50 miles north of San Francisco in the coastal town of Tomales. When young, it is akin to a Spanish-style Manchego, but when aged, it resembles a nutty and savory Italian-style Parmesan. “The original inhabitants of Tomales are Coast Miwok, and to honor their heritage and their care of natural resources which we are learning from, we named the cheese Atika, which means ‘two,’ for the two types of milk,” says Tamara Hicks of Tomales Farmstead Creamery and goat dairy Toluma Farms. Tamara recommends pairing Atika with apples, honey, jam, or chutneys, or shaving atop pasta, soup, or vegetables. 

This is their fourth cheese that has been recognized by the Good Food Awards. “Good Food Awards is one of the only cheese competitions we enter, as it means a great deal to us that they are not only judging the taste and quality of the product, but they go further in asking about soil health, grazing practices, animal care, as well as the workplace practices such as sustainable wages,” says Tamara. “When we see a Good Food award winning product we know it will taste delicious and share values that are important to us.” Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

The Pasta Shop: Rigatoni Made with Capay Mills Maparcha Flour

Oakland’s The Pasta Shop is known for their fresh artisan pastas, as well as ravioli filled with seasonal ingredients. For the Good Food Awards, they created a flavorful rigatoni made with a locally grown heirloom Poulard wheat milled by Capay Mills (also at the Ferry Plaza). While the rigatoni is no longer available, you can pick up Pasta Shop’s whole-grain bucatini, cavatelli, and raviolis at the farmers market, which are made with Community Grains hard amber durum wheat flour. Whole-grain flour keeps the germ, bran, and endosperm intact, retaining flavor and nutrition. Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

Ugly Pickle Co.: Burger Party Dills and Dilly Carrots

A pickle maker on a climate-wise mission, Ugly Pickle Co. is a first-time Good Food Awards finalist, times two. Their pucker-worthy Dilly Carrots and garlicky Burger Party Dills both bring classic kosher flavors, with a pungent kick. “We create our pickles with the spirit of sustainability and the idea that no produce should ever go to waste,” says co-founder David Murphy. “With a humble jar of pickles, we’re able to both support our farmer friends by purchasing their ugly, unwanted produce and deliver super tasty products to our incredible customers.” He complementing the Burger Party Dills with cream cheese atop a sesame bagel from Midnite Bagel, and Dilly Carrots with goat cheese from Tomales Farmstead Creamery. Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

Wise Goat Organics: Spicy Garlic Sauerkraut

Fermenter, nurtitionist, and Tradicional Chinese Medicine practitioner Mary Risavi of Wise Goat Organics makes her Spicy Garlic Kraut with cabbage, serrano peppers, and garlic sourced from Coke Farms, just 6.5 miles from her kitchen in San Juan Bautista. The ingredients are immediately processed to maximize nutritional value and flavor, then fermented in glass and stainless steel crocks to avoid exposure to plastic. “I never thought my kraut was anything special because the ingredients and fermentation process are very simple,” says Mary. “I feel like the little efforts I do to use higher quality ingredients are what makes it have such great flavor.” She recommends serving it with scrambled eggs, warm rice with smoked salmon, grilled cheese sandwiches, or egg salad. Ferry Plaza, Saturdays.

See the full list of Good Food Awards finalists and watch the virtual awards ceremony tonight.

Photos of Almanac Beer Co.’s, Little Apple Treats’, Tomales Farmstead Creamery’s, and Ugly Pickle Co.’s products used with their permission.

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to growing thriving communities through the power and joy of local food. Learn More »