Orkney parishes gear up for return of home produce competition

Orkney’s parishes are getting ready for the return of a special community wide home produce competition that promises to be one of the most fiercely contested local events of 2019.

Organised by Orkney Food and Drink, the Parish Cup of Food 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 baking category for children under 12.

A team of judges will sample the parish team produce at a special event in Kirkwall Grammar School on 11 May, before deciding on category winners. Members of the public will also have the chance to taste and vote on the food being judged from 12 noon on the day.

The biennial competition was first staged in 2015 and won by the island of Westray, with the island of Sanday crowned champions in the 2017 event.

Sanday, the 2017 Parish Cup of Food Champions Sanday, the 2017 Parish Cup of Food Champions

Orkney Food and Drink is now urging anyone who’d like to be involved in the 2019 competition to get together with others from their parish and enter a team.

“As hotly contested events go, the Parish Cup of Food is right up there with the likes of the Calcutta Cup,” said Edgar Balfour, project manager for Orkney Food and Drink. “Communities throughout Orkney have really embraced the concept and, whilst highly competitive, it’s always loads of fun and very good natured.

“Sanday were worthy winners of the 2017 competition, but all the other parishes have them in their sights now and we anticipate this year’s event to be a real home produce battle!”

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 of ‘Coasts and Waters’. In addition, members of the public will get the chance to vote for their favourite table, with the Parish Cup of Food awarded to the parish with the most points overall. 

Mr Balfour added: “Orkney is world famous for its food and drink, but much of that success comes from our home produce traditions which span many generations. All the indications are that this year’s event will be even more popular than 2017’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 Parish Cup of Food 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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