I expect there are many thousands that would and could benefit if this opportunity was presented to them in a way where they can understand the value of it.Dave Legasse, chairman of the Georgia Grown Commodity Commission Board
RINCON — Pooler's Dave Legasse is a man of good taste. Quality and freshness are important to him, too.
That's why Legasse, co-founder of The Salt Table LLC, is an ardent proponent of "buying local." He is the chairman of the Georgia Grown Commodity Commission Board.
"I'm a believer (in Georgia Grown) because of the many people I have met who are so committed to their products, the quality of their products and the flavors they produce," Legasse said. "Many of them produce and grow the products they eventually use and sell.
"It's an amazing bunch of people and I am really proud to be part of that organization."
Legasse touts Georgia Grown, a marketing and economic development program of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, everywhere he goes. He did so at the Georgia Salzburger Society's Heritage Day Festival at New Ebenezer on Sept. 3.
"Spreading the word and building support for this as a brand for quality products is a big part of my job," he said.
Legasse is using his more than 40 years of experience in marketing and public relations to get more business owners involved in Georgia Grown.
"I expect there are many thousands that would and could if this opportunity was presented to them in a way where they can understand the value of it," he said.
A wide variety of items are available for Georgia Grown designation, including fruits and vegetables, livestock, seafood and forestry products. Restaurants and retail stores can earn the designation, too.
"It's everything from broilers to blueberries, peaches to pecans and everything in between," Legasse said.
Georgia Grown products are marked with an easily identifiable logo.
"(Acquiring Georgia Grown status) isn't a hard thing to do," Legasse said. "(The businesses) have to go online to become a member. The qualifications are pretty simple.
"They have to be based in Georgia, make their products in Georgia or grow their products in Georgia."
Legasse's business, which he founded with his wife, Carol, in 2011, has to import many of the salts and spices it uses in its branded line of seasoning blends, oils and vinegar. The Salt Table LLC's 250 products still qualify for Georgia Grown status, however, because they are made in the state.
"They key word there is 'make,'" he said.
Legasse explained that Georgia Grown is also an excellent support network for state businesses.
"If we can get our ingredients in Georgia, we have a one hundred percent commitment to buy those products," he said. "For example, we work with a local beekeeper who exclusively sells their honey to us. It comes right to us, not only from Georgia, but Savannah.
"We could buy honey from anywhere in the world — bees are everywhere — but our commitment is to always buy from Georgia."
See the Sept. 19 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.