Five West Virginia food companies will be in the West Virginia Department of Agriculture (WVDA) pavilion during the Washington, D.C., Fancy Foods Show at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center June 17-19.
Celebrating its 60th year in 2012, the Fancy Foods Show is among the largest of its type in the world. It provides a showcase for specialty food producers from around the country and the globe. Approximately 2,400 exhibitors from 80 countries are expected to attend this year’s summer show.
“This is an important opportunity for West Virginia companies to take a step into larger markets and expand their businesses,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Gus R. Douglass. “It’s also a means of projecting a positive image of the state to influential executives from around the country.”
According to the Fancy Foods Show, 85 percent of all show attendees either authorize or recommend purchasing decisions. Companies represent a who’s who of the American food industry. Among them: Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger, Barnes & Nobles, Wal-Mart, The Fresh Market, Amazon.com and Restaurant Associates.
WVDA Marketing Specialist Cindy Martel said three of the companies that participated in ExporTech, the West Virginia Development Office’s cooperative learning program, will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with buyers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
“We really work to help these companies learn about the food industry and to put them in positions where they can get contracts with distributors and retailers,” she said. “These are all home-grown, West Virginia companies, and when they make sales, it has a direct impact on their respective local economies.”
The West Virginia companies attending the show are:
ThistleDew Farm Inc.
– Located near Proctor, ThistleDew produces quality honey and other bee-related products, along with mustards, vinegars and hand-made skin and lip creams. They also offer bee shows and educational tours. For more information, visit www.thistledewfarm.com
– Located in Sistersville, Uncle Bunk’s produces award-winning mustards and pepper sauces based on old-time Appalachian recipes. Yes, there really is an Uncle Bunk. Lawrence Young was named after his father, but his family gave him the nickname “Bunk” at an early age and for reasons now lost to history (only his wife calls him “Larry”). His daughter and company co-founder, Stacy, loved his home-canned sauces and encouraged him to sell them – and Uncle Bunk’s was born. For more information, visit www.unclebunks.com
Bigg Riggs Farm
– Located in Loom, the idea for Bigg Riggs was born in the desert of Iraq in 2003 when U.S. Marine Calvin Riggleman described his rural, eight-generation farming heritage to his comrades. The problem was that consumers could only enjoy the family’s produce in-season. A line of sauces, butters and jellies followed upon his return to civilian life and the family produce can be enjoyed year round. For more information, visit www.biggriggsfarm.com
Legacy Foods, LLC
– Located in Clay County, Legacy Foods makes apple butter the old-fashioned way, in open copper kettles, 30- to 40 gallons at a time. Talk about a West Virginia Grown Product – Legacy Foods uses only Golden Delicious apples, the state fruit of West Virginia, which was discovered on an uncultivated apple tree in Clay County in 1912. The tree was later propagated by a major fruit nursery, and has since spread worldwide. For more information, visit www.legacyfoodwv.com
Custard Stand Food Products
– Located in Webster Springs, Custard Stand owners Dee and Angie Cowger took a century-old family recipe for hot dog chili and turned it into a local sensation at a carry-out dairy bar. They are now conquering America with their frozen hot dog chili, associated products and franchised Custard Stand restaurants. For more information, visit www.custardstand.com
Department of Agriculture