Last Saturday, I had the good fortune to be a judge in a pie contest sponsored by Boulder's Alfalfa’s Market. Along with bragging rights and a $50 gift card for the winning pie in each of four categories, contestants and onlookers were treated to free slices of pies from the Alfalfa’s bakery, which kept spirits high during the judging—and gave shoppers ideas for their holiday tables.
I was in the good company of five other foodie judges: John Lehndorff, food writer and executive director of the American Pie Council; Lynne Eppel, editor and publisher of Edible Front Range; Dana Derichsweiler, owner of the pie-centric Walnut Café; Steven Lembke, chef at the Louisville’s Huckleberry restaurant; and Ashlea Tobeck, pastry chef instructor at Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.
I love that Alfalfa's used this opportunity to further part of its own food message: Given the store's commitments to organic and non-GMO ingredients, pie makers were encouraged to use these clean foods in their creations. The contest also demonstrated how a natural foods markets can build more community and goodwill in their neighborhood. I mean, who doesn’t get a little competitive now and then, and what better food to encourage some healthy smackdowns than homemade pie?