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Which pie took the cake?

September 25th, 2009 by Thea

The Queen Anne Farmers Market’s 1st Annual Blue Ribbon Pie Contest last night was such a hit, the judges, pie-makers and market goers couldn’t simply stop the festivities when the market closed down at 7 p.m.

With 19 pies to choose from, pie masters/judges Jon Rowley and Kate McDermott (of Art of the Pie) began rigorously reviewing each pie one by one against a set of 25 criteria. According to Rowley, they used the County Fair guidelines and then “turbo charged” the contest by adding a few categories of their own.

Spending anywhere between five and ten minutes scrutinizing each pie, by the time 7 p.m. rolled around the judges weren’t even halfway done. And rather than hurry along the meticulous reviewing process, the judges and crowd of eager onlookers carried on by flashlight.

It was poetic pie-making magic. Literally. While contestants and onlookers waiting tirelessly for nearly two hours, local poet Evan entertained the crowd with pie-themed poems that were humorous, appetite-inducing and left the crowd salivating as they starred longingly at the judging tables.

In keeping with this literary theme, one of the pies even had a “pie-ku”:

Lemon sunshine and

Darkest blueberries eclipse

With sage, lavender

Though every pie maker was a winner (they all received “1st Prize” ribbons), the top three scores were awarded prizes. The 2nd runner up was a nectarine blackberry pie by Neil Robertson, scoring 112 points, and awarding him a $25 gift certificate to Chow. The 1st runner up was a Montmorency cherry pie, by Frank Gerber (pictured right) scoring 117 points, and winning him a one year subscription to edible Seattle.

But in the end it was Pham-Duy Nguyen‘s black strap rum peach pie that took the cake, so to speak, as Best in Show with 119 points, winning her a $100 gift certificate to Betty and a chance to serve as a judge in next year’s Blue Ribbon Pie Contest.

After the final scores had been tallied, the judges proudly told the crowd of participants that they were all part of the “great American pie renaissance.” They did each taste 19 pies in two hours. That’s quite a pie revival if you ask me!

And props to the two pie-makers who stepped up to the plate at the last minute (the morning of the competition, three people dropped out. Two wait-listed participants were notified at noon and managed to get their pies to the market by 5 p.m.) That’s dedication!

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