Foodie Times: A look at upcoming food events local and beyond

Here’s a round-up of some of the food-related press releases that recently made their way to my desk:

Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop September 1

DECORAH -- Seed Savers Exchange, Inc., a leading non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds, will host a free Tomato Tasting and Seed Saving Workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 1, offering visitors the opportunity to sample a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes and learn how to save tomato seeds.

The event will be held at the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center, 3074 North Winn Road in Decorah. More than 40 varieties of tomatoes of all colors and sizes will be available, including yellow cherry tomatoes, pink beefsteaks, striped stuffing tomatoes, red grape tomatoes and green roma’s.

The Oneota Food Co-op in Decorah is sponsoring this year’s Salsa Contest. Limited to 25 entrants, applications are available at the Co-op, by calling 563-382-4666, and online at The registration deadline is Monday, August 27. The co-op will also be providing food for purchase during the event.

There will be tomato seed saving workshops beginning at noon, featuring Seed Savers Exchange staff as well as tomato advisor and expert Craig LeHoullier. Visitors will be able to tour Seed Savers Exchange’s tomato gardens. Guided hayride tours begin at noon and are scheduled for every 45 minutes.

This event is free and is open to the public.

Made by Milk: Drink it. Make it. Win It!

Made By Milk Construction Contest, a nationwide design competition, promotes nutrition and provides educators with a platform to teach a valuable, hands-on lesson in recycling.

Schools across the U.S. can win up to $5,000 by having classroom teams design and construct creations made from empty school milk cartons.

The contest, sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, promotes carton recycling and milk consumption among school-aged children. Prizes are awarded each semester for creations based on a specific theme. The theme for the fall 2012 contest is habitats.

Winning categories include:

  • Grand Prize - $5,000
  • People’s Choice - $2,500
  • Elementary Winners (3 total) - $1,500
  • Middle School Winners (3 total) - $1,500
  • High School Winners (3 total) - $1,500

Entries will be accepted until November 16, 2012. For more information and official contest rules visit

Good Food Awards entry period open through Aug. 31

The Good Food Awards – the first national awards to recognize American craft food producers who excel in taste and sustainability – has launched the third year of its quest to find America’s best food producers with a coast-to-coast call for entries of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, spirits, and confections.

A blind tasting with Alice Waters, Nell Newman and over 130 other food movement leaders will determine this year’s 100 winners, who will be showcased in San Francisco at a special one-day Good Food Awards Marketplace within the iconic CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

“The Awards are a way to publicly recognize the people who are not satisfied with the status quo, but continue to push their industries towards greater craftsmanship and sustainability,” said Sarah Weiner, Director of the Good Food Awards. “They are food crafters from small towns and big cities who are maintaining an important piece of our cultural heritage – the food we eat – while enhancing our agricultural landscape and building strong communities.”

The number of entrants grew 35 percent in its second year. This year’s competition is expected to yield entries from all 50 states.

Food producers are invited to enter in nine categories – beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, pickles, preserves, spirits and confections – until Aug. 31. Winners, selected from each region of the United States, are chosen based upon meeting the sustainable production criteria of each category and excelling in the blind tasting.

To enter, basic product information is submitted online at A $50 processing fee for each entry covers sorting, transporting and storage, and is waived for the first entry for all Merchants Guild members. All products must be self-certified by the producer as meeting the category-specific criteria of social and environmental responsibility outlined on the entry form. Confirmed entrants are invited to mail samples for the blind tasting in October, and finalists participate in vetting interviews to further elaborate on how they meet the criteria.

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