First cookoff marks finale for new farmers market

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Great things come from collaborations, and one of those things is food.

The city, its Downtown Development Authority and the Wyandotte Business Association are working together to host the first Blue Ribbon Culinary Cookoff during this week’s 3rd Friday Beer Bash event.

“What happens is you visit the market on the 16th and you have to purchase two ingredients from the vendors,” said Natalie Rankine, the city’s special projects coordinator. “It kind of spans over the course of two days.”

The Thursday farmers market is the last of 2010, capping off a successful first year for the weekly activity. Attendance has continued to grow from week to week, Rankine said.

Making the final market extra special will be an appearance by Farmer John and his Barnyard Express from 4 to 6 p.m. at First and Elm streets.

“He has a petting farm and a show he puts on with his animals,” Rankine said.

The same intersection will be the site of the Culinary Cookoff and Beer Bash the following evening.

DDA Director Brandon Wescott said the Culinary Cookoff continues a trend of successful cooking competitions in Wyandotte that began with rib and chili cookoffs, the latter which next occurs Oct. 15.

“This is the first year for the farmers market (cookoff),” Wescott said. “The ribs cookoff was well attended. The chili cookoff was done in colder weather, and I think that scares a certain percentage of people away.”

Since registration for Friday’s Culinary Cookoff takes place at Thursday’s farmers market, Rankine said she wasn’t sure how many people to expect. Once organizers have a better idea, they hope to add to the event next year.

“If it does grow, we’ll probably have categories next year,” Rankine said. “We’re looking at doing cooking demonstrations next year.”

The Culinary Cookoff is open to everyone, without age or residency restrictions. After registering during and purchasing at least two ingredients from the farmers market between noon and 6 p.m. Thursday, contestants will have until 6:30 p.m. Friday to cook their dish at home and bring it to the cookoff.

“We’re going to do a cookoff where folks need to get cooking items from the farmers market and have a taste testing at the 3rd Friday event,” Wescott said. “Hopefully there are some good creations that’ll come out of it.”

(Contact Chris Jackett at