Calling on the jammiest jams and most mouthwatering marmalades, the Good Food Awards will be handed out to the tastiest sweet preserves made with fruits that are non-GMO, free of synthetic inputs and responsibly foraged.
The Good Food Awards rely on the expertise of the preserves community to create the tasting, determine judges and set standards for the category. Read on to learn who has been integral to building the category, as well as what the preserves standard are and who will be judging this year.
Chef, Writer, Fermentista
April McGreger first learned the art of preserving at the elbow of her mother and grandmother in a small Mississippi farming town. Her wanderlust led her to a master’s thesis on a volcano in Italy before the call of kitchen could no longer be ignored. She worked her way into a pastry chef position at the nationally acclaimed Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill, NC. There she honed her skills and her palate while discovering her passion for working with seasonal local fruits. She spent years researching vernacular preserving traditions around the world and experimenting in her home kitchen before founding Farmer’s Daughter in 2007.
Owner, Milk Glass Pie
Keia Mastrianni is a writer, cookbook author, baker, and photographer based in Western North Carolina.
Her writing has appeared in Eater, TASTE, Whetstone Magazine, the Local Palate, Bon Appetit, Gravy, VICE Munchies, and Bake from Scratch among others.
She is the co-author of Bruce Moffett Cooks, a cookbook written with Charlotte chef Bruce Moffett, published by UNC-Press in early 2019.
Her interest in storytelling, regional ingredients, and good food folks has brought her into relationship with a North Carolina coastal community, and immigrant-owned food businesses in Charlotte, North Carolina to collect oral histories. She is the former editor of Crop Stories, an independent ‘zine focused on stories from the agricultural South.
She is the baker behind the small-batch pie company, Milk Glass Pie where she bakes from her farm-based cottage kitchen.
Bio is from her website.
Managing Director, Tall Grass Foodbox
Co-Founder & CEO, French Broad Chocolates
Co-founder and COO, Big Spoon Roasters
Areli Barrera Grodski
Co-Founder, Little Waves Coffee Roasters
Cheesemonger, Orrman's Cheese Shop
Owner, Boro Beverage Company
Owner, Parker & Otis
Founder, The Spicy Hermit
Cookbook Author and YouTube Host, Nancie’s Table
In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, preserves entries must meet the following standards:
- Made in the USA or US territories.
- Free of artificial ingredients, including colors, flavors and preservatives.
- Free of genetically modified ingredients, including GM pectin.
- Made with ingredients that are foraged or grown:
- With respect for seasonality.
- Without the use of synthetic inputs including herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.**
- Made by a crafter that is an upstanding member of the good food community, committed to equity and inclusion in all levels of their business,*** as exemplified through integrating these practices:
- Creating a safe and healthy work environment where employees receive a fair wage, are safe and respected at work and have access to the resources they need to keep themselves healthy.
- Offering a diversity, equity, and inclusion training to staff members and/or leadership annually.
- Thoughtfully acknowledging the heritage of culturally-specific food on websites, packaging and/or marketing materials.
- For the small percentage of Good Food community that operates on a significantly larger scale, meeting additional criteria related to board diversity, maternity leave and employment practices.***
*Sugar, and ingredients that make up less than 2% of the product, such as pectin and spices, may be sourced from farther afield, and are not required to be grown organically due to barriers in cost and access in some regions. Citrus juice (up to 15%) added to increase acidity of the preserve is also allowed to be sourced from outside the region of entry but must be grown in the same spirit as the primary preserved fruit (using the above organic standards) and sourced domestically where possible.
**IPM growing practices will be accepted for some fruit (apples, stone fruit) and will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
***Check if you are in the 2% of companies meeting the Good Food Foundation definition of large scale, and review the addition criteria on the Rules & Regulations page.
Additionally, preserves entries must fit within one of these subcategories:
- Conserve: Following the traditional definition, this refers to a preserve that includes a combination of fruit and nuts. Alternatively, a conserve may exclude nuts and utilize a methodology that includes a maceration period and rapid cook time.
- Curd: Fruit curds are creamy spreads made from acidic fruit juice, butter, and eggs cooked over a double-boiler until it becomes a custard.
- Fruit Butter: A preserve made from fruit that has been cooked initially, often in added liquid, and then pureed into a smooth texture and cooked a second time with the addition of sugar. The texture is spreadable like butter and silky smooth.
- Fruit Cheese or Leather: A preserve made from fruit that has been cooked initially, often in added liquid, and then pureed into a smooth texture and cooked a second time with the addition of sugar to a consistency where the liquid has been removed leaving a high concentration of fruit. Once cooled, it is solid and sliceable. Fruit leathers fall into this category.
- Jam: A cooked mixture of crushed or cut fruit and with a concentration of at least 55 percent sugar.
- Jelly: A combination of sugar and fruit juice which has been extracted from the fruit by simple cooking and straining. Jellies are clear in appearance and should hold their shape to some degree. Savory pepper jellies would also be included in this subcategory.
- Low Sugar Preserve: A cooked mixture of crushed or cut fruit and with a concentration of less than 55 percent sugar.
- Marmalade: From the Portugese word marmelo, marmalades are made with citrus fruit and sugar. They may, but do not necessarily need to, contain suspended pieces of fruit or peel. Two methodologies include cutting the citrus fruit for the marmalade or juicing the fruit and suspending the peel within.
- Syrup: Made from fruit juice extracted from fruit by maceration or cooking and then filtered and cooked with sugar and additional flavors of herbs, flowers and spices, if desired. The texture can range from light to heavy depending on the cooking time. Syrups can also be made from sugar and water infused with herbs, flowers or spices. Beginning with the 2018 Awards, syrups will be judged in the Elixirs category.