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[ Commissioner’s Letter ]

                      Welcome to

                Georgia Grown!
        I am proud to present the sixth
        edition of Georgia Grown, our annual
        guide to Georgia’s farms, forests,
        food and exports.  This issue
        continues our tradition of
        highlighting the abundant economic
        impact of Georgia’s agricultural
        industry, while providing insight on
        those who produce, market and
        distribute it.
        Each year we attempt to uniquely
        tell the story of Georgia agriculture
        by focusing on a central idea or                                  Photo by Becky Stein Photography
        theme. As we worked through the
        planning and development process
        for this edition, one word seemed to
        consistently emerge, community.
        The Georgia Grown program has
        developed into more than just a successful marketing and economic
        development program, but also a thriving community for agribusinesses
        of all types.  The relationships forged through the network and
        promotional opportunities of Georgia Grown have enabled members to
        prosper and further contribute to the state’s number one industry, as
        agriculture continues to prosper with a total farm gate value of nearly
        $14 billion, a total economic contribution of nearly $75 billion and
        accounting for nearly 410,800 jobs in the state.
        We hope you will be intrigued with the many stories in this year’s
        edition featuring Georgia Grown members who have worked together to
        build new brands and revive classic ones. Also, enjoy reading about
        members who have established relationships to bridge the gap between
        a good idea and a marketable product. Along the way we hope you
        appreciate how members are utilizing new trends to revitalize
        traditional markets. Through these stories and many more, our hope is
        that you will get an exclusive glimpse of the Georgia Grown community
        and a better understanding of its purpose.
        Many people across our great state put a lot of work into this publication
        and I want to personally thank all who contributed their time to this
        project. The purpose of Georgia Grown magazine mirrors that of the
        Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Grown program —
        to not only improve the understanding and importance of the
        agricultural industry to the public, but also to solidify the connection
        between the grower and the consumer.

        Gary W. Black
        Commissioner of Agriculture                                                                               [ 11 ]
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