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Stop by the Carriage House Bakery in Potsdam on Sunday, July 13th (noon - 3 pm) to sample and vote for a favorite entry in the Summer Baking Fest.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Stop by the Carriage House Bakery in Potsdam on Sunday, July 13th (noon - 3 pm) to sample and vote for a favorite entry in the Summer Baking Fest. Photo: Todd Moe

Ready, set, bake! Potsdam Food Co-op's summer Baking Fest

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As part of the annual Potsdam Summer Festival, the Potsdam Food Co-op is holding a summer baking contest to benefit GardenShare. The Baking Fest will be held on Sunday, July 13th (noon-3 pm) in the Carriage House behind the Co-op.

Todd Moe spoke with Co-op general manager Eric Jesner, who says the newest baking contest celebrates the bounty of summer, and culinary artistry.

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Todd Moe
Morning Host and Producer

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Eric Jesner: So with all the great success we’ve had with our Holiday Baking Fest that we do shortly after Thanksgiving, we decided to expand the idea to the summer to give people a chance to use fresh items from their own gardens or other local stuff. Like strawberries- right now we have tons of strawberries around. And to give people a chance to showcase their baking skills with a lot more local, fresh ingredients. And this time we’re going to be benefitting GardenShare. So it’s nice because their mission is aligned with ours, really trying to support local farmers and get local food into people’s hands.

Todd Moe: And you’ve got a number of different categories, too. So, sweets are basically the overall theme.

EJ: Yes, it is baking and that’s the fun side of sweets. In the Holiday Baking Fest we have a savory category which we’re not doing this time. We are carrying over the special diet category because that’s a large focus of what we do here, but we also have one category "Simply Wonderful”—which is a category where your baked good can only contain a maximum of five ingredients total. “Local is Best”- your item has to have a minimum of five local ingredients from St. Lawrence County. As well as “The Secret”- so something containing a hidden healthy ingredient. So for instance, chocolate chip zucchini bread which you don’t notice the zucchini in there. Or any other item where you could take a nice healthy ingredient and put it something in there where people aren’t aware they’re getting good stuff.

TM: Well a minimum of five local ingredients, that’s a challenge.

EJ: It is a challenge but our hope is that people will have stuff in their own gardens that they could use. We’re getting into a wonderful season right now.

TM: And so you can drop them off on Saturday?

EJ: Yup, we ask for you to drop your items off Saturday. Well, you can drop them off during store hours between 8 am and 6 pm. Ideally, if you could bring them Sunday morning between 10 am and 11 am, that gives us enough time to cut everything up and portion everything out for everyone to come and taste.

TM: And what do the winners get?

EJ: For the winners of each category, the Co-op is going to give each winner a $25 gift certificate to the Co-op, and we have one other prize that’s not on here which is going to go to the person who has the most local ingredients in their product. So no matter what category you enter, the person with the most local ingredients will also get a $25 gift certificate.

TM: So you’re promoting local produce from the garden, local baking, local ingredients as much as possible.

EJ: Yup, right along with our mission in everything we try to do- focus on local as much as possible.

TM: Folks can come by the Co-op and pick up registration forms, right?

EJ: Yes, please pick up the registration form. We would like to know as much ahead of time as possible. We make these really nice cards to put out in front of products to explain what the baked good is to anyone who is coming to sample. We like to really focus on including all the ingredients because of our focus on people with specialty diets, whether it’s gluten-free or dairy-free, anything like that, so people can be aware of what they’re trying.

The day of the contest is Sunday, the 13th from noon until 3 pm. We are actually asking for everyone who is coming in and trying the items—they're going to be the ones voting—So, we tally up the votes at the end of the day to see who the winners are. Everybody gets to vote.

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