SFA Announces sofi Product of the Year Award Winners

Julie Gallagher | 22 Sep 2020

Lodi Olive Oil Ascolano and Rye Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup are the winners of the sofi Product of the Year award, announced Ron Tanner, vice president of education, content & advocacy for the Specialty Food Association, Monday, during Specialty Food Live!

“Our Product of the Year is the sofi-winning product that earned the highest score from 1,825 product entries,” he said. “In this extraordinary year, we have an extraordinary tie!”

Calivirgin Olive Oils’ Lodi Olive Oil Ascolano is made with Ascolano olives handpicked from local trees and processed using state of the art cold extraction technology creating a fresh pressed olive oil. The olive oil has a fruity aroma with a medium intensity and mild pepper finish. It is California Olive Oil Council Certified.

“We are so honored and humbled to have won this award,” said Julie Coldani of Calivirgin. “A big thank you to the Specialty Food Association for this bright spot in 2020.”

Finding Home Farms Rye Barrell-Aged Maple Syrup is the result of a partnership between two local farms to incubate rye flavor into maple syrup. The syrup is put into rye whiskey barrels and incubated to pull the rye flavor into the syrup. It’s then carefully filtered.

“It’s great to see three different farming families with two farm-based products win this award,” said Dana Putnam of Finding Home Farms. “It really speaks to how innovative agriculture can be.”

Originally scheduled for March but delayed due to COVID-19, sofi Award judging began on July 27, said SFA interim president Bill Lynch.

“The number of judges and staff in the facility was capped at 15, all needed to have temperatures checked before entering, and the judges were spaced 20 feet apart in a large manufacturing space, which, by the way, is where the Impossible Burger was developed which is pretty cool,” said Lynch. “We owe a huge bouquet of roses to the Rutgers Innovation Center for all their preparation and ongoing support, and a world of thanks to those stalwart judges.”

The SFA has been presenting sofi Awards since 1972. The Awards represent the best of the $158 Billion specialty food industry. Past Award winners include industry leaders such as KIND Bars, Tate’s Bake Shop, Stonewall Kitchen and Rao’s.

Related: SFA Reveals 2020 sofi Award Winners; sofi Award Judging Underway.