16 North Bay Artisan Producers Win ‘Good Food’ Awards

The winners of the 2024 Good Food Awards in the North Bay represent the best of the best.

The Good Food Foundation has announced this year’s “Good Food Award” winners at an event in Portland, Oregon. Among the winners this year were 16 food, cider and spirit producers in the North Bay, which were ranked among the best of the best.

The arbiter of taste for artisan producers, the Good Food Awards sift through thousands of entries each year—from honey and snacks to charcuterie and beer—to find the up-and-coming makers to watch. Winning this annual award can give these small, usually family-owned businesses a broader audience and the attention of foodies.

The award categories include beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee, confections, drinks, elixirs, fish, grains, honey, oils, pantry items, pickles, preserves, snacks and spirits. Each submission is blind-tasted by a panel of professional food and beverage judges. These judges are looking for sustainably made, socially conscious, credibly crafted items that are an “honest reflection of the best food and drink in America,” according to the Good Food Foundation.

Here are this year’s winners in Sonoma, Napa, Marin and Mendocino counties.

Canteen Meats, Beef Cecina (Petaluma): This up-and-comer from Petaluma impressed judges with its salt-cured and cold-smoked beef round from nearby Silver Sky Ranch and Beffa Springs. Their locally sourced charcuterie is available at their retail shop on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (304 Bodega Ave., Petaluma), the West Marin Culture Shop in Point Reyes or online at canteenmeats.com.

Gold Ridge Organic Farms, Picholine Blend Extra Virgin (Sebastopol): In 2000, founder-farmer Brooke Hazen planted 70 acres of olives, 16 acres of heirloom apples, citrus fruit and lavender on his rambling farm. Hazen is passionate about everything he grows, and guests are invited to experience the farm via reservations. Frequent events include olive oil tastings, pizza pop-ups and apple tasting. Available at goldridgeorganicfarms.com.

Spirit Works Distillery, Barrel Gin and Four Grain Straight Bourbon (Sebastopol): Known for their Sonoma County-made gin and bourbon, Timo and Ashley Marshall have worked for more than a decade to perfect their spirits. The distillery recently left its longtime home at The Barlow in Sebastopol and has yet to announce a new location. Available at spiritworksdistillery.com.

Clif Family Napa Valley, Organic Meyer Lemon Marmalade (St. Helena): The founders of Clif Bars opened a winery and tasting room in 2012. They now offer wine tastings, a food truck and preserved fruits and veggies. Their tart-sweet marmalade is made in small batches with Meyer Lemons unique to the West Coast. It is available at cliffamily.com.

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Bay Blue, TomaRashi, TomaTruffle (Point Reyes): Longtime cheesemakers from this women-owned Marin County dairy are always on the shortlist for awards. Their classic blue cheese, Bay Blue, got high marks, as did more recent additions, including a truffle-infused Toma and the sassy togarashi-infused Toma. Available from pointreyescheese.com.

Tomales Farmstead Creamery, Fortuna and Liwa (Tomales): Many of the cheeses at this 160-acre goat and sheep dairy pay homage to the Miwok tribes that once inhabited the area. Liwa, meaning “water,” is a soft chevre-style goat cheese. Buona Fortuna is a seasonal aged sheep’s milk cheese. Available at tolumafarms.com.

Mill Valley Pasta Co., Porcini Radiatore (San Rafael): A passion project from chef Tony Adams, this craft company was born during the pandemic. Out of work, Adams made fresh pasta for friends and family, later transitioning the home business to a brick and mortar. Available at the factory store, 555 Francisco Blvd. East, Suite 24, San Rafael or at millvalleypasta.com.

McFarland Springs Trout Dog (Sausalito): This McFarland Springs Trout hot dog on the Fish Restaurant Instagram page is dressed with housemade uni mustard and gypsy pepper relish. Available at Fish restaurant, 350 Harbor Dr., Sausalito.

Patagonia Provisions, Sourdough Sea Salt Organic Crackers (Sausalito): These crisp, delicious sourdough crackers, originally created by Moonshot Snacks, now come from Patagonia Provisions with no changes to the recipe. They are made with organic and regeneratively grown wheat from Washington State. They are available at patagoniaprovisions.com.

Pennyroyal Farm, Boont Corners Vintage Tomme (Boonville): Another frequent award winner, this goat’s milk cheese is inspired by the Boontiling name for where Highways 128 and 253 meet. Boontling is a regional dialect, now mostly lost, only spoken in the tiny Anderson Valley town of Boonville. Available at pennyroyalfarm.com.

Gowan’s Cider, 1876 Heirloom Cider and Sierra Beauty Cider (Philo): This small-production cider company sources apples from heritage orchards owned by the family. Sierra Bueaty Cider utilizes an extinct varietal from 1906. It is available at gowansheirloomcider.com.