A Port Townsend farm yesterday picked up a whopping three finalist slots in the Good Food Awards, the leading recognition program for artisan edibles. Midori Farm's Horseradish Leek Sauerkraut; Kimchi and Savory Kraut account for nearly one-third of the spots claimed by Washington state producers.
La Grande Farmers Market
Marko Colby and his wife, Hanako Myers, have made kraut commercially for eight years, but never before submitted jars for judging. "There aren't that many sauerkraut competitions," Colby points out. The couple entered the maximum three products allowed by competition rules.
It's extremely unusual for a producer to be named a triple finalist. Only Missouri's Patric Chocolate this year matched Midori's feat, although a number of artisans were granted finalist status twice, including Olympia's Johnson Berry Farm. Johnson Berry's raspberry habanero jam and tayberry jam will face competitors including a North Carolinian summer squash curry relish, a Californian spicy Fresno chili jam and a wild elderberry jelly from Connecticut in the preserves finals.
While Colby says he and Myers make their krauts and kimchi "the way people have been making krauts and kimchi for all time," he believes their products are distinguished by farm-fresh ingredients.
"We grow the ingredients ourselves," he says. "So we can be with it the whole time and pay attention to details."
Midori is a certified organic producer and processor; Colby estimates 99 percent of the ingredients fermented at Midori originated on the farm. "We do buy ginger for the kimchi, and occasionally we'll run out of onions at the end of the season," he says.
The season runs from July until March, with production picking up around the holidays. Although Colby wasn't certain exactly how many cases they annually turn out, the couple typically processes about 25,000 pounds of cabbage.
Until this month, Seattle eaters had to travel to Port Townsend to buy Midori products. But they're now available at the new Marx Foods retail store.
More than 1300 products were entered in the annual competition, with 182 finalists named in nine categories. "With 40 percent more entries this year, being a Good Food Awards Finalist means more than ever before," a press release quotes director Sarah Weiner as saying.