The N.C. Specialty Foods Association celebrated its 25th anniversary last month with a reception at the Angus Barn in Raleigh. The group, which promotes locally made gourmet food and specialty products, held its inaugural meeting at the Angus Barn on April 11, 1994.
The original organization had 50 members. Sandi Ford, of Bone Suckin’ Sauce in Raleigh, served as the first vice president of the group. Ford explained that the association was founded based on what she and others were seeing in other states.
“We started attending shows and saw that other states had more ‘food marketing’,” Ford said. “We decided North Carolina should have the same.”
As the interest in local food has grown, so has the association. Now, more than 100 companies from the mountains to the coast participate in the association’s annual meetings, workshops and marketing opportunities. Also, the group has expanded the variety of products offered by members including beer and wine.
Last year, the association began a series of Artisan Food Fairs at local farmers markets across the state. Food fairs have already been held in Greensboro and Holly Springs this year and additional fairs are planned for the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market on July 13; the State Farmers Market in Raleigh on Aug. 10 and Piedmont Triad Market on Sept. 14.
For more information about the association, visit www.ncspecialtyfoods.org.