Once again, it’s time to show off your wild food cooking skills! The Sandhills Rod and Gun Club, Martha Faye Crafters Club (formerly Extension Homemakers), and Richmond County Cooperative Extension are sponsoring the 17th annual Wild Foods Cook-off Contest. There are five categories this year, including Big Game/Small Game/Other Mammals, Wild Fowl/Fish, Wild Fruits/Nuts/Vegetation, Youth (16 years of age and younger), and Most Authentic.
The contest will be held on Tuesday, March 14 at The First Presbyterian Church in the fellowship hall located at 133 W. Ballard Street across from Ellerbe Middle School. Entries must be registered from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Judging will begin as dishes arrive.
John Gerwin, research curator for the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will give a presentation about Wild Foods of Central America at 6:30 pm. Anyone can participate from Richmond or surrounding counties. Once the dish is judged, the leftovers will be used for the Tasting Party. If you are not preparing a dish but would like to attend this event as a visitor, there will be a $5 charge per person with children under 12 free. This charge covers the costs incurred for the facility and supplies. In years past, contestants have made some very unique and delicious dishes. We’ve had rattlesnake, possum, bear, raccoon, beaver, dandelion leaves and red bud flowers, to name a few. This is a very popular event due to our county being so popular for hunters, fishermen and nature enthusiasts.
There are normally around 60 different dishes to sample and around 150 people attending. Wild Foods fanatics come from all across the state for this unique event. The prizes are sponsored by the Sandhills Rod and Gun Club. The first place from categories 1-3 each will receive a big prize. All youth will receive a small prize and the most authentic dish will receive a ribbon. Each dish is automatically entered into the authentic dish category. An example of an authentic dish might be one cooked with honey instead of sugar, it could be cooked over an open fire, or made using cattail flour in place of wheat flour.
If you or a friend would like to enter your favorite recipe, please call us at the Richmond County Cooperative Extension Center at 910-997-8255 or email Tiff_Conrad@ncsu.edu to receive a copy of the contest rules. Please register no later than Monday, March 13. We’re expecting another successful event and hope you will come to join in all the fun!
Tiffanee Conrad is a livestock agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension office in Rockingham.