Peach Pie Contest at the C'Wood Farmers' Market

The 14th Annual Peach Pie Contest was held on Saturday, August 6, 2016. There were 11 pies entered and five hungry judges set forth to taste and taste and taste each and every entry until we were all about to pass out from the sugar high!  In past contests there have been upwards of 20 pies entered.  I love pie, but eating more than 12 sample tastes would really set me over the edge.

Best over-all Peach Pie winner, Jane Walker
The pie categories were:  Best Presentation; Classic; Anything Goes; Best over-all Pie aka, The Pie You Most Want to Take Home!  We had cross-over winners in each category.  We had family entries.  We had returning bakers.  We had Dads and kids who baked.  And we had bakers with so much talent that their pies deserved to be on magazine covers.
Life's a Peach submitted by Natasha Zirbel
I brought along my son and helper, Nate, who couldn't wait to be a part of the tasting crew.
Tally Taker, Erin, from Collingswood Board Co. gave Nate a job, to keep him occupied and focused. Nate was on trash duty, collecting the judges used spoons and plates.  A 6 1/2 year old can only taste so many pies before he gets bored.   My helper gave his opinion on which pies he thought tasted best allowing me to narrow down the choices.  At times we were in complete agreement and then our taste buds disagreed.  A bit of opposition is a good thing in making tasting judgments.

As far as our discernment on the best looking presentation, Nate was in complete agreement with the five judges, Peach Pie entry No. 9, " Life's a Peach", which was decorated with peach slices in concentric circles to create a floral pattern, was the clear winner.  It was technically perfect, pretty and colourful.  I especially loved the decorations around the spring-form pan - using decorative papers and mini flags to spell out Life's a Peach.  Pie no. 9 was one of the more original pies.  A no-bake pie, it had a pretzel toffee crumb crust, a tangy peach, cinnamon and sour-cream/whipped cream filling that was crowned with peach slices.

Other intricately designed pies such as entry no. 11 - with a beautiful star-pointed flower and leaf and flower embellished nutty crumb crust, and pie no. 6, was a lattice, braided lattice and flower on flower crust took my breath away.  The hard work that went into these pies was impressive.  Tasting these pies was also a treat.  I ate many helpings of each, enjoying the fillings were were near perfect as were the tender sweet crusts.  The crusts alone could stand out as gorgeous dessert offerings.

I was sorry to have over-looked pie 6 for presentation, I was so focused on the Life's a Peach pie.  Any omissions were soon corrected because that pie baker nearly swept the contest!  Returning contributor, Jane Walker, won handily in the Classic category as well as for over-all presentation.  Her daughter, Emily Thompson's, Anything Goes Pie No. 11 took first place.

One of my favorite pies, an Anything Goes entry, No. 8, was a amalgamation of cobbler and pie, filled with blueberries, raspberries and peaches.  The crumb topping and soft crust enveloped the filling in a way that made this my favorite new comfort-food dessert.  The pie was still warm, because contestant, Cherry Pope, rushed her pie to the table moments before we started the judging!  I think the warm pie was a clincher for me.  I also loved pie no. 7 - a near classic entry embellished with blueberries in its center and along its edge. Had pie no. 7  not been topped with blueberries, it would have been a sublime entry for the classic category.

Dylan, Greg and Julia, with their caramel and crumb topped peach pie

Nate's favorite pie was in the Classic category, entered by Greg Dollak *** along with his son, Dylan and daughter, Julia.  They are a family we often see at the Farmers' Market.  Nice to see familiar faces of families that enjoy cooking together. According to Greg, this is their 3rd year entering the Peach Pie Contest.  20014, 20015 and noe 2016, which was a charm to us!  Greg's pie, a classic entry was a crumb-topped pie, enhanced with caramel generously drizzled over the entire pie.  I'm sure Nate enjoyed it because it was pure sweet decadence.

As we greedily indulged in the pie devouring tasting, I was struck by how often a look of a pie can belie its true nature.  Not all pies tasted equal in looks vs flavors and some of the modest-looking comfort-food pies turned out to be fan favorites.  Some pies suffered from being a tad runny inside, juices not quite holding together.  A few pies had a nutmeg bite that hit your tongue on the first taste.  Salt, usually a necessary ingredient to balance the sweet and tart was at times too apparent.  All the pies, from the gorgeous to the humble were good and I'd have been pleased to take any one of them home with me.

From buttery, warm, comfort-food like, to close to perfect, all of the the returning and first time contestants truly know how to bake, decorate, and present blue-ribbon winning pies.

Meredith , Greg, Jane, and Greg's kids, Julia and Dylan - all winners!

The winners in each category were as follows:

Best Presentation:
1st Place:   No. 9 - Natasha Zirbel
2nd Place - A Tie!:  Jane Walker and Emily Thompson - mother and daughter team

Classic Peach Pie:
1st Place: Jane Walker
2nd Place: Meredith Linneth
3rd Place: Greg Dollak

Anything Goes:
1st Place:  Emily Thompson
2nd Place: Cherry Pope
3rd Place:  Charles Rockland

Over-All Winner aka The Pie You Want to Take Home:
Grand Prize Winner: Jane Walker

***Corrections made to clear up misspellings and incorrect names!


  1. Great article! My mom and I have so much fun every year. It has become a great tradition that we look forward to. Getting excited for the apple pie contest! - Emily Thomson


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