SPRINGFIELD — To increase awareness about Illinois food products this holiday season, the Illinois Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a 25 Days of Christmas Contest, which began Dec. 1. One winner is selected randomly each day from the department’s Facebook and Twitter fans and will receive the Illinois food product(s) featured that day.
“I’d encourage anyone looking for a unique gift to consider giving an Illinois food product,” Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. “Illinois is a leading food processing state and offers a wide assortment of delicious items to choose from. Plus, every purchase helps not only our agriculture industry, but also our state economy.”
To be eligible, individuals must join the department’s Facebook page or follow the agency on Twitter. Individuals must be 21 years old to win gifts donated by Illinois wine companies. Last year, the department launched a similar promotion called the 12 Days of Christmas. Due to its overwhelming success and the number of Illinois companies volunteering this year to participate, the contest was expanded to 25 days.
Prizes for the contest are being provided by the following Illinois companies:
• Forsee Vineyards & Winery, Coffeen – a $20 gift certificate, enough to enjoy one of the winery’s 15 Illinois grown and produced wines, plus take home a wine-related gift or souvenir.
• eSutras Organics, Chicago – holiday baking and teas gift basket.
• Sleepy Creek Vineyards, Fairmount – gift certificate for a one night stay at the Sleepy Creek Vineyards Bed & Breakfast.
• Two Fat Guys Gourmet Sauces, McHenry – one jar of spicy BBQ sauce, one can koozie, one ceramic coffee mug and one jar opener.
• Honey Wafer Baking Co., Crestwood – one, 24-count case of Honey Wafers.
• Illinois Pork Producers/Raber Packing, Peoria – the Illinois State Fair pork package: six butterfly chops, eight American chops, 10 pork burgers and one custom BBQ spice from Raber Packing.
• Vienna Beef, Chicago – Chicago Style Hot Dog Kit: 16 Hot dogs, 16 poppy seed buns, celery salt, Plochman’s Yellow Mustard and bright green relish.
• Ying’s Kitchen, Gurnee – four unique sauces from Ying’s Kitchen and a cookbook.
• One Hot Cookie, Murphysboro – a $50 gift package that includes a holiday tin filled with an assortment of homemade cookies, handmade chocolates, famous Baptist peanut rolls and gourmet brownies, plus samples of specialty coffee, hot chocolates and spiced cider.
• The Popcorn Factory, Lake Forest – Snowy Night Sampler: Nine seasonal favorites in one charming gift box. Sampler includes three flavors of premium popcorn (drizzled caramel, cheese and white cheddar), chocolate chip cookies, vanilla snowflake mini pretzels, honey roasted peanuts, foil-wrapped chocolates, foil-wrapped hard candies and pecan-caramel pixies.
• Simply Native Nursery, Alexis – a $35 gift certificate for plants.
• Lifeway Kefir, Morton Grove – an assortment of holiday kefir flavors and favorites, including gingerbread, cranberry crème brulee and pumpkin spice.
• Simply Appetizers, Algonquin – a three-pack of Simply Appetizers salsa (mild, medium and hot).
• Galena Cellars, Galena – a $25 gift card to be used in any of its three tasting rooms.
• Black Swan Gourmet BBQ Sauce, Dundee – three bottles of Black Swan’s famous BBQ sauce (sweet, medium and “Kiss of Fire”).
• Country Lights Soy Candles, Leland – two, 12 oz. soy candles. The winner may choose the fragrance.
• Diva Chocolates & Confections Inc., Skokie – a holiday gift sampler including handmade artisan caramels made with fresh cream, natural vanilla and roasted sea salt, handmade artisan caramels with dark chocolate covertures, handmade French Honey Nougat sweetened with clover honey and packed with roasted whole almonds, dried Montmorency cherries and salted pistachios and one artisan, limited-edition, jam or jelly (chef's choice).
• Grandpa G’s, Hamilton – two Grandpa G's Trio of Sauces (jalapeno mustard, catsup and raspberry syrup).
• Sweet Margy Toffee Confections, Chicago – gift basket with delicious, hand-crafted dark chocolate Bark'n Toffee (wonderful dark chocolate embedded with bits of toffee and almonds) and hand-dipped Toffee Grahams (crackers dipped in toffee to keep them nice and crunchy and then dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with milk chocolate).
• Julie’s Corner Store, Lacon – one pound of homemade fudge in a Christmas-themed tin.
• Chicago Bulls Gimme That Hot Sauce Baby, Chicago – four-pack of hot sauce.
• Dutch Farms, Chicago – an attractive Dutch farms camo cap, six, 8-ounce bars of mild cheddar cheese and six, 8-ounce bars of pepper jack cheese.
• FutureCeuticals, Momence – Nutrim Holiday Survival Kit. Nutrim is a USDA-developed, 100 percent natural, oat, beta-glucan super-food that helps lower cholesterol naturally. The survival kit includes a 120-serving can of Nutrim, a holiday recipe book and Nutrim Catalyst (a salt-free seasoning).
• Majave Sauce, Berwyn – one case (12 bottles) of Majave Hot Sauce.
• Champion Pizza, Hebron – 12 frozen pizzas shipped directly to the winner! Champion Pizza produces handmade frozen pizza with 100 percent natural ingredients and no preservatives.
To sign up for the 25 Days of Christmas Contest, visit and “like” the Illinois Department of Agriculture Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IllinoisDepartmentofAgriculture or sign up to follow the department’s Twitter account at https://twitter.com/#!/ILAgMarkets.
For more information about the contest, please contact Jennifer Tirey, Bureau Chief of Marketing, Promotion and Grants, at (217) 782-8146 or visit the department’s home page for a complete listing of Illinois Products at www.agriculture.illinois.gov.