Our first community contest — the first annual Blue Ribbon Salsa Conetst — was a huge hit today!  From up and down the Shore folks came out to the Market to see how their best salsa recipe fared against the competition.  Our three local celebrity judges scrupulously tasted and compared all 21 entries, rating each for flavor, originality and use of seasonal local ingredients.

 

The actual Blue Ribbon  — and a Market Bag filled with produce, jewelry, meats, seafood, baked goods and cosmetics donated by Market vendors — went to Missy Harris of Painter for her Spicy Sweet Salsa (recipe posted below).   Featuring three types of tomatoes, yellow and jalapeno peppers and pear honey preserves for a sweet kick, it was flavor-packed.

With salsa music ringing in the background all morning, the Market was packed with customers and salsa competitors.   And it was a great day for newcomers to experience the Market as our produce vendors brought out some of the most colorful and flavorful crops of the season today.  Juicy watermelons, plump slicing tomatoes and multicolored peppers, huge gorgeous peaches, fresh pears, striped eggplant, colorful potatoes, the first pumpkins of the year and even cheery zinnias…  it’s the peak of summer, for sure.

By 10 am the salsa table was filling up with entries and our judges arrived to begin their tasting.  Each entry was numbered, and the names and recipes were held by the contest committee.  Our esteemed judges for the day were Chef Charles Thain of the Island House Restaurant, Valerio Montalvo of  the Don Valerio’s restaurants in Melfa and Eastville, and Eastern Shore News Editor Ted Shockley.  Once tallied, four entries held the same top score, and Market Manager Janet Fosque was prevailed upon to rate these as our tie-breaker judge in a blind tasting run-off.

The red ribbon for the first runner up went to Johnny Mo, chef of Mallard’s at the Wharf in Onancock, whose Market 55 Salsa featured  produce from market vendors Wind Song Farms, Matawoman Creek Farms, Eastern Shore Seafood and peach jam from We Be Jammin’…and was served with a Sweet Tea Mojito using sweet tea from Market vendor Annie’s Restaurant.

The other top placing run-off contestants were Max & Hali King of Onancock, with a delicious spicy Roasted Garlic Salsa, and Sonda Dawes of Onancock who entered a crowd favorite sweet Peach Strawberry Salsa.

A huge thanks to everyone who entered the contest — we’re impressed with how many fantastic salsa-makers we have in our midst!

Recipe for the winning salsa:

Spicy Sweet Salsa

Submitted by Missy Harris of Painter, VA

  • 9 roma tomatoes
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 17 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 yellow pepper
  • 2 large jalapenos
  • 2 small jalapenos
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 Tbsp pear honey preserves
  • pinch of sea salt

Use food chopper.  Dice vegetables into small pieces.  Toss together in large bowl. Drain any excess liquid.  Refrigerate.

Caution with the jalapenos… Has some kick to the flavor.

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