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State Recognizes Outstanding Chefs, Stores, Foods With PTP Awards

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 04:20am

NASHVILLE – Tennessee chefs, retail stores and the makers of Tennessee’s finest foods have won honors from the state’s Pick Tennessee Products campaign.

Among those honored include Executive Chef W. Tyler Brown and Chef Cole Ellis from Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel Capitol Grille, for their commitment to local farm and foods preservation; Food City Produce and Knox Region Kroger for offering local produce and processed products in retail groceries; and Purity and Mayfield dairies for their longstanding partnerships with Pick Tennessee Products.

The top three Tennessee foods for 2012 are Nashville’s Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company, owned by Scott Witherow, in first place; Brentwood’s Glazee’ Artisan Ice Creams and Desserts, owned by Michael E. Woody, second place; and BBQ Fight Club barbecue sauces by Katy and Andy Garner, owners of Nashville’s popular Hog Heaven restaurant, in third place.

Pick Tennessee Products began in 1986 as a Tennessee Department of Agriculture promotion to identify local food products in retail stores but has expanded with national trends over the years to focus on farm-direct foods and local farmers markets. As part of the program, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture provides the popular site www.picktnproducts.org as a free service to the state’s farms and farm markets, promoting 1,700 individual farmers and farm-direct businesses that list about 8,000 farm products. Pick Tennessee Products Awards have been awarded biannually since 1996 and are chosen from active participants in the program.

A unique collaboration between The Hermitage Hotel's Capitol Grille and The Land Trust for Tennessee at historic Glen Leven Farm was the basis for awarding Executive Chef Brown and Chef Ellis their “Friend of Pick Tennessee Products” award. Brown was granted one acre at Glen Leven, which is only five miles from the hotel's front door, to grow heirloom vegetables for the restaurant. Their diners are now assured that the heirloom vegetables they enjoy with their meals are picked the same day they are served. The hotel is committed to natural and sustainable farming practices.

Food City and Kroger grocery stores were both selected for their Best Retail Food Service awards because of their consistent, decades’ long efforts to provide their customers with local produce and to place Tennessee food products, including small businesses, on their shelves. Kroger actively conducts Pick Tennessee Products promotions in more than 20 stores.

Purity and Mayfield dairies have long histories in Tennessee, where traditionally Mayfield operated in the eastern division and Purity dominated the middle division of the state. Both dairies have worked closely with Pick Tennessee Products since its inception in 1986, donating time, effort and products to numerous activities of Pick Tennessee products, benefitting farmers and makers of all types of Tennessee products.

Woody’s Glazee’ Artisan Ice Creams and desserts began with a stint at Baskin Robbins when Woody was in high school. Woody says that through the years, with the help of chefs and restaurant owners, he learned about making homemade ice cream without using base mixes and artificial powders. Woody opened Glazée in March of 2010 in Brentwood out of his kitchen, with all original recipes.

Hog Heaven, in business since 1986, is located in the heart of Nashville, across from a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park. The Garners began bottling their sauces at Lebanon’s Cumberland Culinary Center in September of 2010. Since then, their Kickin’ Chicken sauce has been recognized on Food Network’s “Best Thing I Ever Ate” and in the June 2012 issue of Southern Living “Gettin' Saucy: The South's Best Barbecue Sauce.”

Find the 2012 winning products and all participants of the recent Pick Tennessee Products competition at www.picktnproducts.org.

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