Orkney parishes gear up for return of home produce competition

Orkney’s parishes are gearing up for the return of a special community wide home produce competition that promises to be one of the most fiercely contested local events of 2017.

Organised by Orkney Food and Drink, the Homemade in the Parish event will see teams from throughout the islands submit products across a wide range of categories – everything from jams, chutneys, shortbreads and cakes, to home brew, cheeses and savoury pies. There’ll also be a special baking category for children under 12.

Some of the delicious homemade products on display at the 2015 event Some of the delicious homemade products on display at the 2015 event

A team of judges will sample the parish team produce at a special event in Kirkwall Grammar School on 6 May, before deciding on category winners. Members of the public will also have the chance to taste and vote on the food being judged.

The inaugural Homemade in the Parish competition - staged two years ago and won by the island of Westray - proved hugely popular, with 12 teams entering.

Westray's representatives received the cup from Orkney Food and Drink's Fiona Macinnes last time around Westray's representatives received the cup from Orkney Food and Drink's Fiona Macinnes last time around

Orkney Food and Drink is now urging anyone who’d like to be involved in the 2017 competition to get together with others from their parish and enter a team.

“The first Homemade in the Parish event exceeded all our expectations, with communities from throughout the islands really entering into the spirit of the competition,” said Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts. “It was all very good natured on the day, but standards were incredibly high and, of course, any inter-parish competition is going to have an undercurrent of friendly rivalry. We’re quite sure Westray will be working hard to retain their crown this year, with all the other parishes equally keen to cause an upset and take it from them!”           

Parishes will have to enter at least nine of the 12 competition categories, with rosettes and points being awarded to the top three products in each class. Each table/parish will also be judged on presentation and their interpretation of the competition theme ‘Orkney's History, Heritage & Archaeology’. In addition, members of the public will get the chance to vote for their favourite table, with a special Food and Drink Parish Cup awarded to the parish with the most points overall.

Points and rosettes are on offer for winners of each category at the Homemade in the Parish event Points and rosettes are on offer for winners of each category at the Homemade in the Parish event

Mr Balfour added: “Many parishes already have well established local groups, such as the SWRI, community associations, clubs and church congregations and, just like the first time around, these are the ideal starting point for anyone looking to form a Homemade in the Parish team. All the indications are that this year’s event will be even more popular than 2015’s so we’d urge parishes to register their interest on the Orkney Food and Drink website as soon as possible.”

Full details for the Homemade in the Parish event are available on the Orkney Food and Drink website. Teams wanting to enter can also contact Edgar Balfour on 761 430, or via orkneyfood@outlook.com

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