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Good Food finalists


The Good Food Awards roll back into San Francisco for its fourth year this month to celebrate and put a spotlight on some of the best artisan producers across the United States, from one-person picklers and confectioners to well-established breweries and dairies.

It's no surprise that the North Bay is well-represented in this annual designation, which seeks to recognize producers and purveyors united in sustainability and social responsibility, while simultaneously able to turn out delicious things for us to eat and drink.

With winners from 32 states chosen from 1,450 entries, awards will be handed out Jan. 16 at a gala reception ($125) held at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco by Master of Ceremonies Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who is special advisor to President Obama on healthcare and the person behind the White House Farmers Market.

Also featured that night will be Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters and keynote speaker Nell Newman of Newman's Own Organics.

The winning products will be featured at a Good Foods Awards Marketplace open to the public on Jan. 18 ($15) at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A separate beer and spirits garden ($5) is also taking place that day.

Here are local honorees to look for, by category:

Beer: Bear Republic Brewing Co. (<a href="http://bearrepublic.com" target="_blank">bearrepublic.com</a>) in Healdsburg is being recognized for its Caf?Racer 15, a seasonal golden ale bright in citrus and pine that's a double IPA.

Two San Francisco-based breweries are also getting nods: Almanac Beer Co. for Farmer's Reserve No. 3, an ale aged in wine barrels with strawberries from Swanton Berry Farm and Crimson Baby nectarines from Blossom Bluff Farms, and Dogpatch Sour, a wild ale also aged in wine barrels and brewed with Rainier cherries; and Magnolia Brewing Co. for Kalifornia Kolsch, a golden, herbal beer.

Charcuterie: Napa's Fatted Calf Charcuterie (<a href="http://fattedcalf.com" target="_blank">fattedcalf.com</a>) is a 2014 finalist for its Brown Sugar Ham.

Based out of the Oxbow Public Market, Fatted Calf is all about combining old-world methods with progressive values, working with organic and hormone-free meats supplied by local farms.

They flavor further with natural salts and seasonings, organic herbs and produce to put out fresh, small-batch, seasonal sausage, salumi, p?? and confits.

Cheese: As expected, the grass-fed dairies of Sonoma and Marin are well-represented in the cheese category, with a newcomer from Mendocino in the mix.

Marin's farmstead sheep's milk operation, Barinaga Ranch (<a href="http://barinagaranch.com" target="_blank">barinagaranch.com</a>), is given the nod for its Txiki, a tommette-sized Basque cheese that was recently given a silver medal at the World Cheese Awards.

Also named is Bellwether Farms (<a href="http://bellwetherfarms.com" target="_blank">bellwetherfarms.com</a>) for its buttery, cow's milk Carmody and Whole Milk Ricotta made from its farm near Tomales Bay.

The aged triple cream, Red Hawk, from Cowgirl Creamery (<a href="http://cowgirlcreamery.com" target="_blank">cowgirlcreamery.com</a>) is equally honored, and new this year is Pennyroyal Farm (pennyroyalfarm.com) from Boonville for its fresh, ch?re-style Laychee.

Lastly, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company's (<a href="http://pointreyescheese.com" target="_blank">pointreyescheese.com</a>) Toma is named this year.

Coffee: Local roaster Flying Goat Coffee (<a href="http://flyinggoatcoffee.com" target="_blank">flyinggoatcoffee.com</a>) is a Good Food Awards regular, honored for its Ethiopian coffees: the floral Ethiopia Wote Konga and jasmine-y Ethiopia Wottuna Boltuma.

A handful of San Francisco-based coffee people were also singled out, including Four Barrel Coffee, Saint Frank and Sightglass Coffee Roasters.

Oils: Tallgrass Ranch's (<a href="http://cityolive.com" target="_blank">cityolive.com</a>) Estate Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Sonoma Valley is a Good Food finalist, the only North Bay producer this year.

Pickles: Wine Forest Wild Foods (<a href="http://wineforest.com" target="_blank">wineforest.com</a>) in Napa makes all manner of fermented foods like dried mushrooms, seasonings and salts, with its Pickled Sea Beans the standout this year.

Preserves: Katz (<a href="http://katzfarm.katzandco.com" target="_blank">katzfarm.katzandco.com</a>) in the Napa Valley makes a Gravenstein Apple Cider Vinegar worthy of being a Good Food finalist from hard cider produced from late-ripening apples high in sugar, slowly converting it into vinegar that's sweet and spicy.

<em>

Virginie Boone is a freelance wine writer based in Sonoma County. She can be reached at virginieboone@yahoo.com and followed on Twitter @vboone.</em>