The Homerville, Georgia-based Great American Cobbler Co. celebrated its one year anniversary on Feb. 9. That was the date the company had its first sale in 2021 at Piggly Wiggly in Blackshear, Georgia. Great American Cobbler’s products are now available in more than 3,600 stores in 27 states.
The company’s team combines family farmers and veteran food industry professionals. The team has grown to more than 40 full-time employees, creating good paying jobs in one of Georgia’s poorest counties.
In the summer of 2020, blueberry farmer Russ Goodman and food industry veteran Chris Huff met at a South Georgia truck dealership. Their conversation led to a shared vision: to start a company that would transform Georgia’s fruit produce into a line of top-quality frozen desserts.
Goodman and his family are among the leading growers of blueberries and blackberries in the South Georgia berry patch along the northern edge of the Okefenokee swamp. Acidic, sandy soils have been transferred from forestry to berry production, which thrives in these soils.
They see their margins squeezed by foreign competition and few options but to tighten their belts as prices drop. One way forward was to find new markets for their fruit by making value added products.
Goodman was introduced to Chris and Laura Huff, two food industry veteran professionals who could help make that vision a reality. Laura Huff had been a senior manager with Kroger Supermarkets and Chris Huff had a track record of bringing frozen food products to national grocery markets.
“We knew that great desserts start with great ingredients,” said Laura Huff, “and we were confident that, together, we could make this vision a reality.”
The team got to work, starting with securing an SQF rated facility in Homerville. Equipment was purchased, teams were hired and branding and packaging were designed as the team worked to a February launch date. The company now makes cobblers in the following flavors: apple, blackberry, blueberry, cherry and peach.
“We were thrilled by the response from shoppers, friends and the broader communit,” said Laura Huff. “People love the fact that we’re using 100 percent American Grown Fruit to make our cobblers. And they’re happy to support a business that’s family farmer-owned.”
In the past year, Great American Cobbler Company has introduced its frozen cobblers to more than 3,600 stores in 27 states. It has partnered with 11 retail store chains that have launched the cobblers. a
Four of the five Great American Cobbler flavors currently rank in the Top 100 Frozen Desserts in the United States, according to IRI Scan data. In addition, in this first year of operation, during the pandemic they’ve maintained a 100 percent fulfillment record.
In September 2021, the company launched Great American Pot Pies, featuring chicken, beef and sausage proteins that are all sourced in Georgia. The pot pies are now being rolled out with the same retail partners that have had strong sales with Great American Cobblers.
The company says its focus in the coming year will be on continuously improving its manufacturing and logistics processes to meet the strong demand for the company’s products.
“We’re blessed to be able to do what we love: bringing delicious, wholesome foods to market and helping to grow our farm communities,” Huff said.
For more information, visit gacobbler.com.