WJs first Farmers Market pie contest is sweet success

Messenger photos by Dianne Schultz
Winners of the West Jefferson Farmers Market’s first pie baking contest are:  third place, Nancy Creamer of West Jefferson; second place, Rogene Lehman of Plumwood; and first place, Bruce Jones of Sedalia.
Judges of the first West Jefferson Farmers Market pie baking contest were: (from left) Sean Hughes, Joan Denes and Ray Martin of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and West Jefferson Business Council.

The winner of the West Jefferson Farmers Market’s first pie baking contest says baking a good pie is easy. He has a stack of pies at home in his freezer to prove it.

That’s right. The first-place award for best fruit pie went to the only male in the Oct. 4 contest. Bruce Jones’ double cinnamon apple pie beat out the entries of 15 other pie bakers.

Jones, a Sedalia resident and a vendor of fresh produce at the weekly farmers market, said he baked two apple pies for the competition.

“I baked one for the contest last night but I got hungry and ate a slice, so I had to get up really early this morning and bake another one before I came to the market to set up,’’ he said.

Respectively, the second- and third-place winners were Rogene Lehman of Plumwood with her hickory nut pie and Nancy Creamer of West Jefferson with her apple pie. The prizes were cash and aprons.

Judges for the event were: Sean Hughes, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce; Joan Denes, a member of the chamber and the West Jefferson Business Council; and Ray Martin, co-chairman of the business council’s farmers market committee.

The judges assigned points for overall appearance of each pie prior to cutting, appearance after slicing, aroma and taste. The scores from the three judges were tallied to determine the winners.

“This is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had to do, but it’s like a dream come true to get to taste all of these wonderful pies,’’ said Denes.

Entries featured cherries, hickory nuts, peaches, blackberries, and 10 variations on apple. Two of the more unusual entries were a Japanese fruit pie made with raisins and a green tomato pie.

Martin, who was the first judge to finish tallying his score sheets, told the contestants and the crowd that he was impressed by the number of entries. He thanked the contest sponsors: Quality Cleaners & Laundromat of London, Graves Cosby Insurance Services Ltd., Judy’s House-keeping Store, Terri’s Homemade Candles, Barbara’s Stanley Products, A Taste of Ohio, D’ Liteful  Designs and Midwest Transmission.

Hughes, the last judge to finish, admitted it was hard to judge one fruit pie against another when there were so many great entries. He took some friendly razzing from the crowd as he savored nearly every morsel of each slice of pie that came before him.
The success of the pie contest has prompted the farmers market organizers to consider sponsoring similar contests next season.

Search is on for lost banner
West Jefferson Business Council members need help in locating the Farmers Market banner that once spanned the business sign outside the parking lot of the former Kitchen’s Cardinal grocery store on Main Street.

Ray Martin, co-chairman of the Farmers Market committee, said the banner was in place after the Sept. 14 wind storm but disappeared later that week.

“We would really like to have that banner returned. It belongs to the West Jefferson Business Council, and we were hoping to use it for other functions during the next year,’’ Martin said.  

He hopes the banner is returned to its original place on the sign or delivered to his house at 78 Frey Ave. in West Jefferson.
“They can leave it on my front porch if they want—no questions asked.”

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