Wednesday December 04, 2013 | 03:54 PM

Jay Lombard of Finest Kind Tea (left) chats with Eli Cayer of Urban Farm Fermentory at the inaugural UFF Makers Market in August. (MaineToday file photo/Susan Axelrod)

Finest Kind Tea, which launched in June 2013, is one of 15 finalists in Fresh Direct’s Next BIG Food Thing contest, a crowd funding contest created to “find the next food idea, product or innovation that could change the food world."

In a press release, Finest Kind Tea (FKT) founder Jay Lombard says he is committed to using only sustainable, natural ingredients, and pledges never to use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or artificial ingredients in any of his products.

Current flavors include Half & Half, a black tea and lemonade blend, and signature flavor Wild Maine Blueberry White tea. FKT is available at Whole Foods Markets in Portland and in the Greater Boston area.

Each bottle is filled with 16 fluid ounces of concentrate that, when mixed with water, makes a gallon of tea or the equivalent of eight bottles of ready-to-drink tea, resulting in a lower carbon footprint, according to Lombard.

If FTK wins the contest, Lombard will use the proceeds to develop a tea made with organic, non- GMO, ethically-sourced ingredients.

Lombard started brewing his tea in small 80-gallon batches. This winter, he will increase production at a new facility on the Maine coast to support expanded distribution throughout greater New England, greater New York, and eventually, nationwide.

Through the contest, which closes on Dec. 17, FTK will have the opportunity to crowd source support for their new all organic tea concentrate using, an online crowdfunding platform.

The business with the winning idea will receive $10,000 and the chance to partner with FreshDirect, a food supplier in metropolitan New York and Philadelphia. Two runners-up will receive $2,500 each to fund their businesses.

Judges are: David McInerney, co-founder of FreshDirect; Geoff Bartakovics, CEO of Tasting Table; Natasha Case, CEO of Coolhaus; Sarah Copeland, food director of Real Simple; and John Craven, the founder of BevNet.

About the Author

Meredith Goad has harvested oysters on the Chesapeake Bay, eaten reindeer in Finland and sipped hot chai in the Himalayas. She writes the weekly Soup to Nuts column and enjoys a good cocktail.

Meredith can be contacted at 791-6332 or
On Twitter: @meredithgoad

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