Strawberry Habanero Pepper Jelly wows judges at Specialty Foods Association competition

by | Sep 26, 2019

The 2019 N.C. Specialty Foods Association held it’s annual competition Aug. 28 and 29. Strawberry Habanero Pepper Jelly made by Valley Brook Farms of Durham was named Grand Champion.

Almost 100 products competed in nine different categories. Categories were: Baked Goods, Beverages, Confections, Condiments, Deli, Honey & Preserves, Pantry, Plant-Based Foods and Snacks. Products were judged based on appearance, aroma, taste, texture and aftertaste.

Winners of the competition were announced at the annual N.C. Specialty Foods Association fall conference at WinMock in Bermuda Run on Sept. 6.

“We had a great group of judges and products at this year’s judging,” said Sherry Barefoot, NCDA&CS marketing specialist. “Many of these products are available at farmers markets, specialty markets and online. I encourage everyone to go judge for themselves the delicious products made in North Carolina. They won’t be disappointed.”

The North Carolina Specialty Foods Association is a volunteer organization providing its membership with educational, marketing and collaborative opportunities that promote their passion for culturally diverse and excellent specialty food products, while creating quality brand recognition. The association currently has 125 members. The association is celebrating its 25 year anniversary in 2019.

With the assistance of the NCDA&CS, the organization helps its members heighten awareness of their brands. The group regularly hosts activities such as pop-up markets like the Artisan Food Fairs at state-owned farmers markets and some other regional farmers markets throughout the year. Members can also take advantage of NCDA&CS sponsored booth spaces at shows such as the Southern Women’s Shows, Raleigh Junior League “A Shopping Spree”, etc.

A complete list of winners follows:

2019 NC Specialty Foods Association Product Competition Winners


1st Place – Robert Carey Food Group (Highlands) – Handmade Lace Cookies
2nd Place – Anna’s Gourmet Goodies (Wake Forest) – Big Chocolate Brownies


1st Place – Tryon Mountain Farms (Tryon)– Lavender Hibiscus Simple Syrup
2nd Place – Cherry Orchard Foods (Archdale) – Bahama Mama Slushie Mix


1st Place – Vegetable Kingdom (Asheville) – Green Tomato Chow Chow
2nd Place – Little Black Dressing (High Point) – Honey, It’s Dijon Dill


1st Place – Dew Drop Chocolates (Fuquay-Varina) – Chocolate Peanut Clusters
2nd Place – Dew Drop Chocolates (Fuquay-Varina) – Chocolate Almond Clusters


1st Place – Red Clay Gourmet (Winston-Salem) – South Meets East Sriracha Pimento
2nd Place – Red Clay Gourmet (Winston-Salem) – Classic Sharp Cheddar Pimento Cheese


1st Place – Valley Brook Farms (Durham) – Strawberry Habanero Pepper Jelly
2nd Place – Valley Brook Farms (Durham) – Flying Habanero Pepper Jelly


1st Place – Tryon Mountain Farms (Tryon) – Beer Thyme Salt
2nd Place – Mariah’s Relishes (Fayetteville) – Mariah’s Sweet & Mild Relish


1st Place – Haw River Mushrooms (Graham) – Sassy Sesame Teriyaki Mushroom Jerky


1st Place – Robert Carey Food Group (Highlands) – Creole Cheddar Cheese Biscuits
2nd Place – Haw River Mushrooms (Graham) Mild Sesame Teriyaki Mushroom Jerky


Valley Brook Farms (Durham) – Strawberry Habanero Pepper Jelly