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Local gourmet products wow food critics

By: Laura O?Brien, Loomis News Correspondent
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The proof is in the pudding at Loomis-based Earth and Vine Provisions. After 15 years, Ron and Tressa Cooper?s 100 percent natural jams, sauces and dressings products line the shelves in grocery stores in every state. The Coopers continue to wow local customers and international food critics alike. Blue Goose Produce carries the entire Earth and Vine product line. Recent additions include olive oil and herb bread dippers and new culinary sauces, such as the popular tangerine fig and blood orange balsamic sauces, which pair well with salads, cheese and grilled vegetables, Tressa Cooper said. ?Right now, we?re kicking off the summer entertaining outdoor cooking style that we do best,? said Cooper, the taste creator for the company. ?That?s really my forte actually ? the easy entertaining.? Customers at the Roseville Whole Foods store sampled Earth and Vine?s marinade and grilling sauce collection earlier this month. The store is one of several Whole Foods stores across the country that sells Earth and Vine Provisions. ?We love their stuff,? said demo specialist Alicia Kremer. ?It?s the grocery team?s number one favorite product. We sample it during the holidays and we sell cartfuls of it.? Cooper created a burger recipe featuring her spicy apple garlic jam for a food demo at the store. ?It was something different,? Kremer said. ?A lot of people never expected a sweet marinade to taste good on a burger, but they loved it.? The spicy apple garlic jam tickled the taste buds of gourmet food judges, too. The jam is a silver finalist in the ?sofi? awards, a contest by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. Next month, the silver winners vie for gold awards in Washington, DC. Savories fare just as well as sweets at Earth and Vine. The chipotle honey lime mustard won a gold medal at the World-Wide Mustard Competition this year. ?Tressa is very talented,? said Barry Levenson, curator of the National Mustard Museum, which hosts the competition. ?She has an excellent palate and she?s really put some excellent mustards together.? Earth and Vine?s tangerine habanero mustard won the gold medal in the past. The company?s products can be enjoyed straight out of the jar or used as a punch of flavor for a handful of simple ingredients. ?I understand the needs of making a meal quick and healthy,? Cooper said. ?I know now how challenging it is.? The Coopers and a staff of 15 employees produce more than 5,000 bottles per day in their plant in Lincoln. Customers may buy direct from their website but Cooper said 90 percent of their business is wholesale to stores, including locally at Blue Goose Produce, Nugget Market and Newcastle Produce. Cooper said. ?I basically just make foods that I would want to make for my family and my toddler. ?We haven?t skimped on our quality from day one for bigger profits. My goal has always been just to deliver a fabulous product to our consumers.? Earth & Vine Provisions Who: Ron and Tressa Cooper What: Gourmet jams, mustards, sauces, marinades Available: Blue Goose Produce Information: (888)723-8463, earthnvine.com Recipe Spicy Apple Garlic and Blue Cheese Burger Sesame seed or Kaiser bun Grass-fed, ground beef patties Spicy Apple Garlic Jam Apple-wood smoked bacon, cooked Blue cheese Tomato slices Baby spinach leaves Yellow or red onion slices Mayonnaise Grill burgers to desired temperature. Spread top bun with blue cheese and toast under the broiler until melted. Spread mayonnaise on bottom half of bun and layer with spinach, bacon, burger, tomato, onion slice, and top with blue cheese toasted bun. Source: Tressa Cooper, Earth and Vine Provisions