A contest ripe enough to be called ‘berry-licious’

KINGSTON — Fried ginger and blueberry pie with lemon cream.

Cranberry and poppy seed pie.

Banana cream, cranberry and strawberry pie.

Yes, any of these gastronomically-interesting desserts could be an entry in the mixed berry category for this year’s Kingston Farmers Market Annual Berry Pie Contest, which takes place this Saturday.

“It can be anything as long as it has a berry in it of sorts,” said pie event coordinator Sue Duffin of the mixed berry category. There is a category for all-blackberry pies as well. The only other requirement for the contest is that the pie must be homemade.

The crusted delights must be submitted to Duffin at the pie contest booth at the farmers market at Mike Wallace Memorial Park by 11 a.m. Sept. 17. Judging will start around noon. Following the event, the judged pies will be sold by the slice for $2.50. All money raised will benefit the Kingston Food Bank and ShareNet Food Bank. Duffin will also be taking cash donations.

“All the proceeds stay here at home and go to the food banks because they really need it this time of year,” Duffin said.

There will also be scoops of ice cream for sale for 50 cents and $1 cups of drip coffee available.

Non-competitive bakers can submit their blackberry or mixed berry homemade pies to be sold by the slice for $2.50 as well, starting at 10 a.m, with all proceeds going to the food banks.

Duffin said she will not accept store-bought pies for this portion of the event, mainly because no one has wanted to purchase a slice of those desserts in the past.

“People wanted homemade,” she said with a chuckle.

In the past two years, the event has raised at total $1,100 for the food banks, with $700 in 2003 and $400 in 2004.

“I want to exceed that,” Duffin said of last year’s proceeds.

This year’s judges will be different palates from previous contests, as the Kingston Red Hot Mommas will not be carefully tasting the treats — rather, Duffin is hoping to recruit local community leaders, including Port of Kingston officials and Kingston Citizen Advisory Committee members, to make up the six-person judging panel.

The lucky taste-testers will rank the pies for flavor, crust and overall presentation. There has been quite a variety that has been presented before, Duffin said, as she has seen all-organic pies, sugar-free pies and some with different types of crust, from regular to crumble top.

The grand prize for each category is a $25 gift certificate to any of the KFM vendors; second prize is a KFM T-shirt or tote bag.

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