Eight competitors could be seen busily preparing their best dishes, some over charcoal, others with a butane burner or a small stack of wood. Most were seriously feeling the pressure to succeed making the competition all the more exciting for the onlookers. While waiting for the judges to arrive, then sample each entry and announce the winners, warm cider was served along with pinto beans and corn bread at the Vittles store on up the lane for those whose stomachs were churning and in need of immediate satisfaction. The wagon could be heard bumping its way around the farm with the childlike calls of joy rising above the noisy tractor motor evidence of kids spotting the cow, the pig, the donkeys and any delightful visual allowing their spontaneous and happy vocalizations to come forth.
The announcer began to introduce the first competitor to the crowd as three identical plates of delicious cooking was placed before each judge. I snuck behind their table to get a better view of the wonderful food and immediately wished I could have been a judge as my mouth watered. After all eight entries were submitted we were able to stand in line and sample the various courses ourselves and then vote for our favorite. In all honesty, there was no way I could submit a favorite as I truly believed they were all so good. I was surprised at how tasty everything turned out. Each competitor worked so hard in making this cook off a delicious experience for all of us.
After the competition was over, I trekked back to the Welcome Center to visit the vendors displaying their goods. Fresh homemade bread, golden honey, jellies, goat cheese, fresh veggies and even doggie treats were showcased on tables with lots of information about each vendor. Heritage Farm's Harvest Festival and Country Roads Cook-Off was a great way to spend a couple of hours on a gray Saturday. With all of the beautiful fall colors and the warm and hearty entries, I hardly noticed the dismal weather. Happy Fall everyone and be sure to visit the farm the first Saturday in November for "Hot Glass", a glass making Way Back Weekend celebration.