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From cheese to beer: Illinois Products Expo this weekend in Springfield

From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – More than 70 Illinois food companies, wineries, and agriculture associations that will take part this weekend in the 17th annual Illinois Products Expo. From ice cream and cheese for kids, to beer and wine for adults, attendees will be able to sample all of what Illinois has to offer at the Expo.

“This weekend’s Illinois Products Expo will showcase the state’s number one industry, agriculture,” said Acting Director Philip Nelson. “The expo is a one stop shop for consumers looking to support the state of Illinois and its hard working producers.”

Illinois ranks second among all states in food processing sales ($102 billion), and food processing is the state’s number one manufacturing activity. Currently, the state’s 2,200 food processing companies employ more than 150,000 workers.

The Expo’s food offerings, which can be sampled for free as well as purchased, will include fresh meat products, gourmet seasonings and sauces, and homemade jams and jellies. There will also be non-food items, such as soy candles and agriculture-based soaps and lotions, on display and available for purchase.

This year visitors will get the opportunity to learn from a local chef. John Kidd from Lincoln Land Community College, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Program, will give cooking demonstrations for attendees on Saturday from 1-3pm.

Another favorite among visitors is the wine and beer companies that call Illinois home. This year there will be 20 wineries in attendance, including four businesses brand new to the Expo.

“People are used to drinking California and French wines, but I think there’s a real curiosity about Illinois wines and the local wine experience,” said Jennifer Montgomery of the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association. There are currently 108 wineries operating in Illinois, and 450 growers statewide. The economic impact of the industry continues to grow, with $692 million recorded in 2012.

The Illinois Products Expo will be open on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Orr Building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5. Children 10 and younger will be admitted free of charge. While food sampling will be free, the beverage tastings are offered at a small cost. Five dollars will get you five tastings and your own wine glass to take home.

List of participating vendors scheduled to attend the 2015 Illinois Products Expo:

Ahruns Famous

American Egg Board

Bloodshot Bloody Mary Mix

Butch’s Pizza

Chocolate Enrapture

Coming Home Candles

Consolidated Brands

Country Lights Soy Candles

Crowridge Farm Ice Cream

Eagle Bridges Soy Candles

Engrained Brewing Company

Flat Branch Farm

Four Score and 7 Ribs Ago

Freedom Halal Farm

Galena Garlic Company

Golden Prairie Popcorn

Gramps Gourmet Foods, Inc

Grand River Spirits

Happy Baked Goods

Hickory Grove Products

Homestead Bakery

IL Association FFA

IL Pork Producers/Bloomington Meats

IL Specialty Growers Assn

Irish Indulgences

J.D. Mullen Co

Java & Co.

Jerk Bros, Inc

Jimmy B’s Super Salsa

Jones Boys Market

Kelly’s Gourmet

La Mexicana Inc.

Linda’s Salsa

Ludwig Farmstead Creamery

M & G Foods


Oakland Noodle Co

Onofrio’s Classic Sauces

Papa’s Midwest Kettle Corn

Pasta Alley

Perfect Pasta

Reinneck Ranch, Inc

ReMARKable Caramels

Rolling Meadows Brewery

Ropp Jersey Cheese

Sasse’s Apiary

Scrumptious Pantry

SenTEAmental Moods

Smo Diddley’s Inc

Spice of Life

SS Backwards Longhorn Meats

Sweet Betty Jane’s

The Cousins Dog Biscuit Co

Toohill Beef

Turasky Meats

Two Fat Guys Gourmet Sauces

Uncle Joes

V Walker Enterprises (Anthony’s Southern Sauces)

Voss Pecans

Wind Ridge Herb Farm

Nut Hatch Hill BBQ

Dave’s Coffe Cake

Pilot Knob Comforts

Raised Right LLC (Sullivan Pheasant Farm)

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