North & South "Jersey Peach Pie" Competitions

September 25, 2019 - Winding up a late-but-great Jersey peach season were the “Perfect Peach Pie” baking championships from competitions for amateur bakers held at farmers markets around the state. Two grand prizes of $300 each -- one in north Jersey; the other in south Jersey -- were awarded by the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, which sponsored the contests. Ten farmers markets held contests this year, and competition was fierce among entrants.

Five finalists in south Jersey and two in north Jersey submitted pies, which were judged by the chefs at the venues. All the pies were beautiful in their presentations, some with puffy crusts, some with perfect lattice tops, one with a moussed peach flower on top, some with crumble toppings. Judging criteria were appearance, crust, amount of fruit and flavor and overall impressions. North Jersey finalist pies were judged at Barrow House farm-to-table restaurant in Clifton NJ; south Jersey pies were judged at Calabria Pizza and Italian Grill in Absecon.

North Jersey finalists were young men, one in high school; the other, in college. Marselis Middleton, college stuent, was a finalist from the Ramsey farmers market; Marcelius Figueroa, high school student, was a finalist from the Nutley farmers market. Marselis Middleton took the grand prize with his peach crumble tarts.

South Jersey finalists were Jeanenne Weinstein from the Margate farmers market; Jan Pask from the Downtown Wildwood farmers market; Sosy Shishmanian's, from the Brigantine farmers market; Johanna Johnson from the Hammonton farmers market; and Lisa Montana and son Tobin from the Gloucester County Peach Festival at the 4-H Fair. Lisa Montana and son Tobin took the grand prize with a puffy crusted, peach packed pie.

“Who doesn’t love a great peach pie?” asks Santo John Maccherone, PPC chair. “ The pie contests and the special ‘Jersey Peach Days’ draw crowds, according to market managers we query. They have certainly raised public awareness of how good our locally grown peaches are. And no wonder. They get shipped to markets within hours of picking, best for preserving the flavors and textures.”

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The New Jersey Peach Promotion Council is a non-profit voluntary organization of growers, shippers, wholesalers and associated industries dedicated to maintaining a viable peach industry in the Garden State, preserving farmers and farmland; and providing the highest quality and best tasting fresh peaches for consumers. New Jersey is the third largest peach producing state in the country, with approximately 80 orchards on 4,700 acres.