In a former Moore County tobacco field in Vass, Susan Rice recently showed N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler her plans for the largest truffle orchard in North America. Rice, a former real estate and land developer, now runs Black Diamond French Truffles, Inc., and Susan Rice Truffle Products with the hope to bring an appreciation of truffles to a table near you. Susan’s company cultivates the naturally-occurring fungus for specialty olive oils, seasonings and even truffle-flavored popcorn.
Truffles and other specialty foods are becoming more popular in North Carolina, and demand for N.C. products is increasing. In fact, Rice and other vendors will be exhibiting their products at the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s 55th Summer Fancy Food Show® in New York City June 28-30. For some, like Ford’s Fancy Fruits & Gourmet Foods in Raleigh, the Fancy Food Show is nothing new. The award-winning makers of Bone Suckin’ Sauce have been going to the show since 1994. The company will showcase its entire line of sauces, nuts and candy, and also plans to unveil three new products including a chocolate-covered, blueberry pecan brittle.
Argo Century, Inc., is another Fancy Food Show veteran. The Charlotte-based company has exhibited for the past eight years, and last year unveiled its TonTonTM Hibachi Steak & BBQ Sauce at the show. Mayumi Burnham, vice president of marketing, credited the company’s success to NCDA&CS’ support of small businesses.
Another Charlotte company also will be joining Argo Century this year at the show. Polka Dot Bake Shop will be exhibiting for the first time. Co-owner Jennifer Chapman has attended the show as an observer before, but said she is “really excited about being on the other side of the table.” The bakery will unveil CrispiThins, its new sweet potato crackers at the show.
For more information on North Carolina Specialty Foods, visit http://www.ncagr.gov/markets/specfoods.