ASHEVILLE NC – This year’s 40th annual celebration of Mountain Heritage Day again will feature the traditional foods competition “A Gathering In,” where baked goods, canned and dried foods and – this year – sweet potato recipes will vie for ribbons on Saturday, Sept. 27, on the Western Carolina University campus.
The “Best in the West Sweet Potato Recipe” will highlight the importance of sweet potatoes in the Western North Carolina region. “The recipe does not have to be original, but the entry must be made from scratch and must include sweet potatoes,” said Peter Koch, education associate at WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center.
The foods contest is coordinated jointly by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service’s Jackson County Center, WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center and the Department of Health Sciences. Ribbons will be awarded to the top three entries in youth and adult divisions. A grand champion will be selected from each of the divisions of canned goods, baked goods, heritage foods conservation and vegetables.
“The Mountain Heritage Day foods contest reflects the diversity of Appalachian food origins and traditions,” the event‘s food contest coordinator, Emily Baker, said. “It is always exciting to see what kinds of recipes the contestants create.”
The weeks ahead provide plenty of time to prepare preserved entries and plan winning recipes. Food entries will be accepted at the Mountain Heritage Center at specific times during the week leading up to the festival, always the last Saturday in September.
Canned goods and heritage foods may be dropped off at the Cordelia Camp Building on campus between 7:30 a.m. and 5p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24; baked goods and the Best in the West Sweet Potato dishes (along with their respective recipes) on Friday, Sept. 26, from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information about the foods contest or to obtain a contest guideline booklet, contact Shirley Peeler of the Jackson County Center at 828-586-4009, Peter Koch at the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129, or Emily Baker at [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>. Visit www.mountainheritageday.com<http://www.mountainheritageday.com> for a downloadable booklet and entry form at the “Contests” link.