Market spicing up September with 3rd Annual Battle of the Chilies

Last year’s Battle of the Chilies earned the Morinville Farmers’ Market a prestigious provincial award. The market is hoping to make this year’s iteration of the annual event bigger and better. – Morinville News File Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Whether mild, medium or hot, pots of beans and other ingredients will soon be boiling for the Third Battle of the Chilies at the Morinville Famer’s Market. The Sept. 13 contest will once again assemble the community’s best chili cooks for a chance to win prizes and be crowned top chili maker in one of three chili style categories: Beanies for Wienies, Chili Chili Bang Bang, and Blazing Saddles.

Farmers’ Market Manager Korien Sampson said people have been asking her all season when the contest was coming back. For Sampson, it is the fun the event generates that keeps her bringing it back each year. “I do it because I believe in building up our community, and what a better way to do that than to have food?” she said. “It’s a fun way for the people of Morinville to come out for a bit of friendly competition. It’s just a lot of fun.”

Pick your heat

Sampson said the same simple rules would apply as last year; people simply need to show up with their pot of chili. What has changed is the $15 registration fee has been dropped. “It has been changed from an entry fee to no entry fee because I did not want to inhibit anyone from being able to participate,” Sampson said.

Contestants can choose to enter the mild Beanies for Wienies category, the medium Chili Chili Bang Bang category or and the hot Blazing Saddles category. Participants will be given a number and the contest’s judges will not know who made what pot of chili. Pots of chili must be brought to the Farmers’ Market for set up at 4:30 p.m. Judging will take place at 5 p.m.

Again this year, prizes for mild, medium and hot winners are being gathered from local businesses valued at approximately $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third place. An overall Master Chef classification will win approximately $150 worth of prizes. Businesses that enter and win will receive a certificate to hang on the wall. Whether resident or business owner, Sampson believes the real glory is in being the best chili maker in Morinville for 2013.

The Hot chili category saw the Green Bean taking first and Holly Reinhardt coming in a close second. Medium First Place went to Stacey Sampson, second place went to Janice Gosman. First place in the Mild category went to Kenneth Sampson and second place went to Julie Booth. Smith Music took third place with a pinch hitter Green Bean-made vegan chili in 2012.

But local cooks and business owners were not the only winners last year. Sampson was presented the Community Builder Award at the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association Annual General meeting in 2012. The award sponsored by Western Financial Group recognizes managers, sponsors and vendors that have shown innovation planning, techniques, community involvement and promotions to their market. The AFMA Member Awards Program has four awards categories, the New Product in Make It, Bake it Produce It Award, the Marketing Award, Outstanding Volunteer Award and the Community Builder Award.

Entry forms for this year’s Battle of the Chilies are available at the Morinville Community Library and Higher Grounds Espresso Bar.

The Morinville Farmer’s Market runs in the arena parking lot from noon to 6 p.m. Fridays. The market will continue until Sept. 27.

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