The only thing blue were people’s lips at the Saskatoon berry pie contest hosted at the Ponoka Farmer’s Market last week.
The contest held on Wednesday, July 20 and sponsored by the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA), was a first for Ponoka while the BRWA has held the event in other areas of central Alberta the previous six years.
Sarah Skinner from the BRWA was initially afraid there would be few to no pies to show up after hearing reports of very few berries having been produced in the region. However, those fears would soon disappear with a total of nine pies brought in to be judged.
“For a first time event, this was very successful. The response we had was awesome,” said Skinner.
There were two winners declared in the contest – one decided by a panel of four esteemed, if not completely qualified, judges and one decided by a popular vote by the public who managed to grab one of the tasty portions of the pies available. The only stipulation put on contestants was that pie must be 80 per cent Saskatoon berries.
Jennifer Johnson from near Bentley captured the judge’s award for the best pie, with the judges scoring her entry high for the presentation that included a shimmering and fancy lace crush to go along with the unique tasty filling that included some haskap berries – which are also known as blue honeysuckle or honeyberry.
“A lot of people mix up the taste of the berries with lemon juice,” Johnson said.
“They are very high in acid and pectin so that helps cut the sourness and provide a unique taste.”
The People’s Choice award went to Paul and Becky Wipf from the Ferry Bank colony.
BRWA also garnered enough Saskatoon berries courtesy local vendors at the farmers market for the pies that will be made for the organization’s annual Battle River Watershed Festival at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park on Aug. 20.