The Athens area is a busy incubator for food entrepreneurs. Here are three products you might want to try from the creative folks living there.
Wing Finish seasoning mixes
Fire & Flavor, from Gena and Davis Knox, offers premium lump charcoal; a clever portable charcoal grilling system; barbecue, steak and seafood rubs; chicken and pork brines; and, now, Wing Finish, three different seasoning mixes that make it easy to serve delicious chicken wings at home. Cook “naked” wings on the grill or in the oven, then toss the cooked wings in Fire & Flavor’s lemon pepper, sea salt and vinegar or Georgia Q mixes. It’s as simple as that. These mixes are potent, and a little goes a long way. Lemon pepper wings might be popular in Athens and the Atlanta area, but our favorite of the mixes was Georgia Q, a combination of chile peppers, onion, salt, paprika, garlic, celery seed and other spices. No need to confine these mixes’ use to chicken wings, though. We used them to season burgers and grilled pork chops off the grill, as well.
$14.95 per 8-ounce package. Available at Publix, Stripling’s, Lowe’s and at fireandflavor.com/collections/wing-finish.
Midnight Garden kombucha tea
In March 2019, Jason Dean opened Figment Kombucha to produce fermented foods and drinks, using ingredients sourced as much as possible from Georgia farms. The company offers seasonal kombucha flavors, but also a few core flavors, including Midnight Garden, a blueberry lavender kombucha tea. It’s made with blueberry juice from berries grown at Rhonda’s Blueberries in Union Point, a fellow vendor at the Saturday morning Athens Farmers Market. Dean described the taste as “a calming blanket of spiced blueberry jam.” Popping open a can releases a burst of blueberry aroma; the lavender is present, but as a subtle background note. Other core flavors available include strawberry Meyer lemon, ginger lemon grass and orange blossom.
$5 per 12-ounce can. Available at the Athens, Duluth and Marietta Square farmers markets, as well as Dancing Goats Coffee Decatur, Elemental Spirits, Little Tart Bakeshop, Nuts N’ Berries, the Local Exchange in Marietta, the Spotted Trotter, Spiller Park Coffee at Moore’s Mill, Maepole Summerhill, the Corner Cup and figmentkombucha.com.
Credit: Meg Frazier
Credit: Meg Frazier
Dill pickled cucumbers
Phickles has a great origin story on its website — another tale of a family becoming food entrepreneurs as a result of a change of fortunes. Since 2008, Angie and Phin Tillman have been producing a dozen kinds of pickled vegetables, as well as salsa, three barbecue sauces, a barbecue rub and two pepper jellies. We bought a jar of their house pickles — sliced cucumbers pickled with sprigs of dill, slices of garlic and a sliver of jalapeño, which provides a bit of heat. If you want a hotter version, you can try the company’s hot house pickles, made with more jalapeños and a mix of spices that includes red chile pepper. We found ourselves putting these pickles on all kinds of sandwiches, including BLTs, or just eating them straight out of the jar. We’re looking forward to trying the company’s green tomato wedges and carrot sticks, pickled with the same seasonings as the house pickles.
$9-$11 per 16-ounce jar. Available at Alon’s in Morningside and Dunwoody, Star Provisions, Sugar’s Cheese Shoppe, the Local Exchange, Smyrna Beer Market, Patton’s Meat Market, Vom Fass and phickles.com.
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Credit: Family photo
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