Over the Teacups

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Congratulations! Gourmet Tea Leaders

Posted on | January 14, 2014 | Comments

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Gourmet Tea and Fancy Food

Winter Fancy Food Show 2014The Specialty Food Association announced the winners of its second annual Leadership Awards honoring influential and innovative entrepreneurs who are transforming the way the $86 billion specialty food industry does business.

The winners by category are: Citizenship: Tyler Gage, co-founder and co-CEO, Runa Tea, Brooklyn, N.Y. (shown here); Business Leadership: Ron Rubin, minister of tea and CEO, The Republic of Tea, Novato, Calif.; and Vision: Caryl Levine, co-founder and co-owner, Lotus Foods, Richmond, Calif.

Tyler Gage, Dan MacCombie
Forbes’ 30 Under 30

The efforts of these leaders span the globe, from supporting indigenous tribes in Ecuador and establishing a progressive work environment in Northern California to initiating sustainable farming practices in Southeast Asia.

Ron Rubin, The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur

Ron Rubin
The Ron Rubin School for the Entrepreneur

“These leaders are taking their passion for food far beyond the production of great products to improve communities, develop innovative practices and pioneer new food business models,” said Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association.

Caryl Levine and Ken Lee - Lotus Foods

Caryl Levine and Ken Lee
Lotus Foods

Specialty Food Honorable Mentions

Honorable mentions went to leaders of three specialty food companies:

Citizenship: Sam Mogannam, owner, Bi-Rite Market, San Francisco; Business Leadership: Greg Steltenpohl, CEO, Califia Farms, Bakersfield, Calif.; and Vision: Justin Gold, CEO/founder, Justin’s, Boulder, Colo.

Winter Fancy Food Show – Awards

The awards will be presented at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco on Jan. 19, following the keynote address by Neil Grimmer, co-founder of Plum Organics. The keynote address is from 5 to 6 p.m. at Moscone Center.

Nominations for the awards were made by members of the Specialty Food Association and others in the specialty food industry. A panel of specialty food professionals and industry influencers selected the honorees from 66 nominations.

Winter Fancy Food Show – Judges

The judges included Hanna Bree, Blue Hill Market, Pocantico Hills, N.Y.; Donna Daniels, Social Venture Network, San Francisco; David Gagnon, Organic Trade Association, Brattleboro, Vt.; Nicole Kagan, City Harvest, New York; Tim Metzger, Tillen Farms, New York; John Raiche, United Natural Foods Inc., Providence, R.I.; and Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market, Austin, Texas.

Source: Specialty Food Association

About the Author

Jennifer Petersen is a tea enthusiast, Certified Tea Professional, teaches various aspects about tea as a business, and a marketing consultant to the beverage industry. Always fascinated by other people who love tea, she is a life-long student and admirer of those who choose tea as a lifestyle.