In recent years, Hudson Valley food businesses have repped the region well in the nationwide Good Food Awards, with some half a dozen finalists and usually at least a winner or two. Last year, 2022, was an outlier with only one business—Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils—making it to the finalist round and no winners. This year though, Upstate New York is back with a vengeance with 13 products from eight Hudson Valley and Catskills companies making the list of 359 Good Food Award finalists.
The Good Food Awards were created to honor food products that are not only good-tasting but good for the planet. The products are vetted against sustainability metrics and blind tasted by a panel of nearly 300 industry leaders, technical experts, grocers, chefs, food writers, and food movement activists. The 513 finalist products for 2023 were selected from almost 2,000 submissions across 18 categories.
Regardless of the results in May, the eight Hudson Valley GFA finalists have already proven what we know—that our region is a thriving cradle of ethically made, sustainable, and delicious food. Here are the finalists.
Shokan-based ethical chocolatier Fruition is no stranger to the Good Food Awards. They have made the list of finalists and winners almost every year in recent memory. At their facility, they produce a full line of small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolates with cacao sourced through direct trade from farmers and cooperatives in five countries. The cacao is roasted and refined in-house to create white, milk and dark chocolate products in addition to caramels. This year, Fruition Chocolate Works they snagged GFA finalist slots for three(!) products: Beniano Bolivia Tranquilidad Dark 66%, Dominican Nacional Dark 74%, and Chuncho Dark 73%
For years, pasta aisle offerings were dismal. For any real quality, you had to make a pilgrimage to a specialty grocer importing Italian-made products. But Coxsackie-based Sfoglini changed all that, with traditional, old-world techniques and modern, adventurous flavors. Their products have earned them national acclaim with home cooks, chefs, and food writers and now with the judges at the Good Food Awards. Sfoglini was nominated as a finalist for three colorufl pastas: Kale Penne, Turmeric Reginetti, and their proprietary pasta shape, created in collaboration with Sporkful, Cascatelli.
Middletown-based sugarhouse Finding Home Farms is run by fourth-generation maple syrup makers. They are known for their classic, organic syrup as well as their aged and infused syrups and other jams, mustards, pancake mixes, and soy candles, which are available in their cafe/market, online, and at retailers across the country. Finding Home Farms was nominated for a Good Food Award for their cayenne-infused Hot & Spicy Maple Syrup, probably after getting tipped off by Oprah’s O List.
Originally conceived of as a sustainable biodiesel response to the fuel price hikes of the early 2010s, Hudson Valley Cold Pressed Oils has grown, evolved, and found success through an iterative process of trial and error, happy accidents, and customer feedback. The family-run operation sells cooking oils, beauty products, and gluten-free baking mixes. But it is their OG offering—the cold-pressed sunflower oil, made with seeds from their flower fields in Pleasant Valley—that snagged them a spot as a Good Food Award Finalist for the second year in a row.
A collaboration between the Center for Discovery and Tuscan-born chef Cesare Casella and Italian vinegar expert Andrea Bezzecchi, Acetaia Del Sole focuses on producing balsamic-style vinegars using traditional methods and local produce, including apples, maple syrup, and herbs from the Center’s own farm and gardens. The Good Food Awards finalist oxymela is a honey vinegar based on a recipe that dates back to Roman times.
Biodynamic powerhouse Hawthorne Valley is part veggie and dairy farm, part Waldorf school, part market, part food purveyor. Their probiotic fermented products like kimchi, hot sauce, and curtido are a fixture at health food stores and specialty markets throughout the Hudson Valley. But its their turmeric sauerkraut that has the high honor of being named a Good Food Awards finalist this year. It’s made with organic cabbage, fresh turmeric, jalapenos, cumin, and sea salt and wild fermented for a tasty, colorful product that has a little kick and a lot of immune benefits. If you dig it you’ll probably also like the other flavors—original, jalapeño, caraway, ginger carrot, and ruby cabbage.
The secret is OUT about Catskills-based flatbread baker Potters Table. This past holiday season, their products were included in gift guide from Oprah’s O List to Ruth Reichl’s La Briffe, and Food Network’s Cameron Curtis’s Stuff We Love. Now, to this list the baker adds the accolade of Good Food Award finalist for their Seeded Flatbread and Seeded Crisps, which are gluten-free, vegan, and keto. Potters Table specializes in rolled rustic flatbreads, wafers, crisps, granola, andΩ even homemade marshmallows. You can find their products online, at 40+ stores in the Hudson Valley, and at are farmers’ markets.
Last but certainly not least, Chronogram’s very own neighbor in the Fuller Building in Kingston: granola maven Sweet Deliverance! Founded in Brooklyn by chef, food industry veteran, and doula Kelly Geary, Sweet Deliverance was first conceived as a nourishing, nutrient-dense snack for her pregnant patients. But the granola caught on with everyone and soon the business was born. With seeds, spices, nuts, and steel-cut oats, this snack is as good eaten straight from the bag as it is in a bowl with milk. From among the line of flavors that include treats like Strawberry Salty Peanut and Turmeric Super Seed, Sweet Deliverance has been named a Good Food Awards finalist for the Pistachio Cherry Rose Granola.