The Good Food Awards—the first national initiative to recognize craft food producers who excel in both taste and sustainability—kick-starts the sixth year of its quest to find America’s best food producers. July 6 marked the official launch of a coast-to-coast call for entries of beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, oils, pickles, preserves, spirits, and (brand new categories) cider and pantry items. A blind tasting with Williams-Sonoma’s Vice President Jean Armstrong, Chef Thomas McNaughton, Wall Street Journal Slow Food Fast columnist Kitty Greenwald and 200 other food leaders will determine this year’s 150 winners, who will be showcased in San Francisco at a special one-day Good Food Awards Marketplace in January.

Entries are accepted through July 31 at

The awards epitomize the country’s Good Food zeitgeist, showcasing skilled food crafters of all sizes who consciously root their business in the principles of taste, authenticity and responsible production. With new opportunities and increasing national visibility directed at the Good Food Award winners each year, businesses frequently report significant sales boosts—several reporting an impressive 400% growth. Since its inception five years ago, the Awards have consistently grown each year, and this year we anticipate 1,800 entries and representation from all 50 states.

Executive director Sarah Weiner spoke to the transformative power Good Food producers have at the last Awards Ceremony, addressing a crowd of 800 winners, media and food luminaries: “Ignoring business as usual, you build companies that feel like families, transform cities into tight-knit communities and support every social cause with a keg of beer or a wheel of cheese,” she said. “You pay more than fair trade prices to people living thousands of miles away and are the No. 1 customers of farmers down the street. Your goats have names, and you call your bees your ‘ladies.’”

As cider artistry experiences a revival across the US, this year the Good Food Awards offers cider makers a platform of their own.  Previously judged with beer submissions, this new category will showcase the fullness of local fermented fruits, from crisp expressions of traditional and disappearing cider apple varietals to innovative, infused varieties – each type is judged separately.

In addition to the beverages that brighten up our kitchens, the Good Food Awards seeks the go-to pantry items that make cooking and eating a daily pleasure. In celebration of cultural authenticity and regional flavors, we welcome pastes, relishes, savory chutneys and condiments. From miso to sambal to salsa, fish sauce, ketchup and mustard, we can’t wait to see what is being made in America by the diversity of crafters who care about taste, authenticity and responsible production.

The Good Food Retailers Collaborative is a group of 12 forward thinking, independently owned retailers that exists to build more symbiotic relationships both with craft food producers and each other. Its founding members are Liberty Heights Fresh, Di Bruno Brothers, Canyon Market, Healdsburg SHED, The Brooklyn Kitchen, Bi-Rite Market, Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, The Greene Grape, Glen’s Garden Market, Pastoral Artisan and Market Hall Foods.

From July 6-31, 2015, food producers are invited to fill out a 10 minute online entry form at Instructions for shipping samples are sent to all entrants mid- August. A $65 processing fee for each entry covers sorting, transportation and storage, and is waived for the first entry submitted by all new and renewing Good Food Merchants Guild members.

High scorers in the blind tasting with 200 judges are contacted in October for a vetting interview to ensure they meet the sustainable production criteria listed on the entry form. Finalists and Winners are selected from those that pass this vetting, with each region of the United States boasting five Finalists and three Winners per category. Winners participate in the Good Food Awards celebration weekend, receive a Good Food Awards seal to place on their product all year long, and garner connections to a network of national buyers who seek out foods that meet the holistic Good Food Awards criteria.

The Good Food Merchants Guild, brought to you by the same team behind the Good Food Awards, is an ongoing association of businesses united in their dedication to the principles of Good Food. Members receive an array of benefits including the opportunity to participate in the Good Food Mercantile.