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Small Businesses Make Big Connections, Earn Recognition at Pick Tennessee Tradeshow

Monday, July 02, 2018 | 10:54am
Smokin' Joe's

NASHVILLE Smokin’ Joe’s Food Products, Gypsy Circus Cider, and Royal Relish Chow Chow are the official winners of the 2018 Pick Tennessee Products Tradeshow. Many other exhibitors went home feeling like winners as well, having met and even struck deals with major Tennessee retailers.

Tennessee food and farm product entrepreneurs competed for recognition and promoted their products to retail buyers at the event held in Chattanooga as part of the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association (TGCSA) Convention. All competitors are members of Pick Tennessee, a service of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) to connect consumers to Tennessee foods and artisan products. Pick Tennessee helped offset the cost of exhibiting at the TGCSA convention.

Winners were chosen by a panel of local food media members and agricultural professionals. The recognition earned by winning provides an accolade to assist in marketing and acknowledges the proficiencies of the small businesses. The contest also gave an opportunity for entrepreneurs to prepare and practice their presentations before they met with grocery store and convenience store buyers.

The tradeshow has been a fixture of Pick Tennessee for more than 20 years and focuses on value-added products. In 2012, Pick Tennessee began hosting their tradeshow in partnership with TGCSA, giving member businesses access to the state’s largest buyers of processed products. Pick Tennessee also connects aspiring food and farm product businesses with commercial kitchens and local farm sources. TDA’s Consumer and Industry Services division helps new entrepreneurs navigate necessary permits for production and packaging.

Smokin Joe’s is a Nashville fish batter and sauce company, with products already on the shelves at Kroger stores and other retail outlets. Smokin’ Joe’s took first place with Smokin’ Joe’s Original Tartar Sauce. Second place winner Gypsy Circus Cider Company near Kingsport uses locally-sourced apples when possible to produce their range of ciders. Nashville’s Winfrey Foods took third place with Royal Relish Chow Chow, available at Publix and other stores. Tennessee companies Olive and Sinclair Chocolate and salsa, sauce, and marinade maker EV Originals won honorable mentions.

Learn more about Tennessee food and farm products, the Pick Tennessee program, farmers markets, farm fun activities, and more at www.PickTnProducts.org. Follow Pick Tennessee on social media for seasonal updates, recipes, and events.