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June 19, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich announces Illinois Products Expo to feature variety of local food and agricultural products

SPRINGFIELD – In an effort to promote Illinois-made products and support jobs in his state’s vital food processing industry, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today announced 60 Illinois food companies and agriculture associations will take part in the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s 10th annual Illinois Products Expo, including 17 new exhibitors. 
The aptly-titled Food and Cooking Extravaganza, which also features agriculture-based products like soy candles, soaps and lotions, will be held June 21-22 in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. 
“The Illinois Products Expo raises awareness about the diversity and economic importance of our food industry, and is an excellent opportunity for Illinois companies to market their products directly to consumers and food buyers,” said Gov. Blagojevich. 
Illinois ranks first in the United States in sales of processed food products, and third in food processing jobs.  The state’s 1,506 food companies employ more than 89,000 workers.   
The Expo’s food offerings, which can be sampled for free as well as purchased, will include fresh meat products, candy, gourmet seasonings and sauces, homemade jams and jellies, and specialty dressings.  Beverages also will be available.  Expo visitors can quench their thirst with Pepsi products or Stewart’s coffee that the Illinois FFA will sell or a sip of Illinois wine from one of 13 vintners.  Wine will be sold by the sample, glass and bottle. 
Expo hours are:  Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, June 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Admission is $3.  Children 10 and younger will be admitted free of charge.
Drawings will be held for door prizes, including baskets of Illinois food products and an $800 Weber Genesis E-310 gas grill. 
The American Egg Board, Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Finance Authority, Illinois Food Retailers Association, Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association and Illinois Pork Producers Association are sponsoring the expo, along with the Illinois Department of Agriculture Bureau of Marketing and Promotion and participating food companies and agribusinesses.

A list of the participating food companies, wineries and agriculture associations follows:

Ahruns Famous, Crystal Lake
American Egg Board, Springfield
*Avanti Foods, Walnut
*Bloodshot Bloody Mary Mix, Spfld.
*Bluestem Bake Shop, Elkhart
*Bookers Tavern Chilli, Glenarm
*C & C Fudge, Lincoln
Chef Dick's Barbecue Sauce, Girard
Country Bob, Centralia
*Country Cheese and More, Arthur
Country Lights Soy Candles, Leland
*Country Orchard, Quincy
Coupla Guys Foods, Chicago
Darn Hot Peppers, Cobden
E. Formella & Sons, Woodridge
Eagle Bridges Soy Candles, Jacksonville
*Elmwood Meat Shop, Elmwood
H & B Ham Company, Brighton
Hannah's Granna's, Charleston
Illinois Association FFA, Springfield
Ill. Grape Growers & Vintners, Pittsfield
Ill. State Beekeepers Assn., Rochester
Ill. State Turkey Growers, Williamsville
J. D. Mullen Company, Palestine
J. K. Marley’s, Loves Park
*Julie’s Corner Store, Lacon
Kitchen Cooked, Farmington
*Little Barks, Decatur
M & G Foods, Hamilton
Mackinaw Valley Apiaries, Mackinaw
*Midwest Meats, Pana
*New Packing Company, Chicago
Oakland Noodle Company, Oakland
Onofrio's Classic Sauces, Springfield
Pasta Alley, Decatur
Pease's Candy, Springfield
Purvis Horizon Farms, Peoria
R.G.W. Candy Company, Atlanta
Red Cactus Salsa, Quincy
*Ropp Jersey Cheese, Normal
Sasse's Apiary, Chestnut
Spice of Life, Decatur
*Starship, Forest Park
*The Homestead Bakery, Arthur
*Thrushwood Farms, Galesburg
Toohill Seed & Beef Services, Heyworth
*Uncle Joe’s Sauces, Ina
Participating Illinois Wineries
Alto Vineyards, Alto Pass                                      
Baxter's Vineyards, Nauvoo
Berryville Vineyards, Claremont
Collver Family Winery, Barry
Fox Creek Vineyards, Olney
Fox Valley Winery, Oswego
Hill Prairie Winery, Oakford
Hopewell Winery, Rockport
Lasata Wines, Lawrenceville
Mary Michelle Winery, Carrollton
Pheasant Hollow Winery, Whittington
Shawnee Winery, Vienna
Willett’s Winery & Cellar, Manito
*new participant


To learn more about the products to taste at the Expo, visit the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s website at www.agr.state.il.us and click on “Illinois Products Expo.”


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