ATLANTA — Milk, butter and ice cream are what Ricky Sparkman and Kelvin Spurlock from Moultrie, Ga., work well with, but their thick, sweet chocolate milk won the dairy category at the 2008 Flavor of Georgia on Tuesday, March 18, at the Georgia Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta.

“We have whole milk, 2 percent, skim, chocolate, half-and-half, buttermilk, ice cream and, soon, cheese,” said Sparkman and Spurlock. “It has a 21-day shelf life, and if you want it any fresher you will have to get your own cow.”

The family business was founded in 1967 with an all-Jersey herd.

“We decided to never use artificial hormones of any kind, and we felt like the market was there and a local, sustainable dairy farm would do well,” said Sparkman and Spurlock.

The Flavor of Georgia contest showcases food products made in Georgia. This year, the contest drew 150 entries as diverse as organic sweet tea, a sweet pepper dressing, glazed peanuts and a sloppy Joe sauce alternative.

“We had a very good variety, a lot of new, innovative products and a lot of good entrepreneurs behind them,” said John McKissick, director of the University of Georgia Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development.

“Finalists used the event to network and come up with some creative ideas for future products,” said Sharon Kane, a UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences food business specialist and director of the contest. “Participation throughout the state was excellent this year.”

Will Harris of Bluffton, Ga., took grand prize and first place in the meat category with a juicy ribeye steak, raised on his White Oak Pastures farm. Laura Darnall of Savannah won in the candy category with Candy Clay Dough, a multicolored moldable taste treat.

In the natural or organic category, Eleanor Rhangos of Savannah won for the Savannah Bee Company 100% Pure Artisanal Sourwood Honeycomb. In jams, jellies and sauces, Jan and Joel Coffee of Savannah claimed top honors with Dr. Pete’s Praline Mustard Glaze.

Top honors in barbecue and hot sauces went to Sue Sullivan of Atlanta for Hot Squeeze, a sweet gourmet kick in the taste buds. In the wine category, Mary Ann Hardeman of Clayton repeated her last year’s victory with a different vintage — Persimmon Creek Vineyards Seyval Blanc.

In snack foods, James and Bertha Carter of Alma delivered a crunchy winner with Rockingham Fried Pecans. James Dault of Canton won the miscellaneous category with his Sweetwater Growers Infused Roasted Garlic Basil Oil.

For more information on the annual contest, go to the Flavor of Georgia Web site, www.caed.uga.edu.



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