Excitement was in the air and the sun was shining when the 2015 Howard County Farm-City Celebration kicked off with the Iron Chef Cook-Off and the presentation of this year’s Farm-City Scholarship at the Howard County Fair in mid-August.

The Cook-Off

This year, three teams composed of “Dads With Kids” were vying for the title of 2015 Farm-City Celebration Iron Chef Cook-off Champion. The teams were Alba’s Master Chefs, The Young Family BBQ Factory and Corley Culinary Artists.

The teams, which were armed with culinary students who attended one of two summer culinary camps, Chopped with Chef Alba and Healthy Little Cooks, were to each prepare a beef (main) dish and a vegetable (side) dish with the locally-grown or produced farm-fresh food provided, while judges observed their teamwork, food handling and safety awareness.

By 6 p.m., the grills were hot and each team used its culinary skills to grill beef, vegetables and fruit to make award-winning entrées that were then tastetested by the team of expert judges.

At the end of the competition, the winning teams were announced:

  • Overall Winner: Alba’s Master Chefs
  • Best Presentation: Young Family BBQ Factory
  • Best Teamwork: Corley Culinary Artists
  • Best Beef Dish: Young Family BBQ Factory
  • Best Vegetable Dish: Alba’s Master Chefs

The final judging was based on the total presentation, including the plating of the food, table appeal and team apparel. The fresh-from-the-farm food items were donated from Clark’s Elioak Farm, TLV Tree Farm, Breezy Willow Farm, Larriland Farms, Bowling Green Farm-Cheese and Woodcamp Farm-Honey. TLV provided the gift basket that was presented to the Iron Chef Competition champions.

The contest was produced in cooperation with the above farms, the Howard County Economic Development Authority’s Agricultural Marketing Program, the Howard County Farm-City Committee, the Maryland Extension, Chopped by Chef Alba and Healthy Little Cooks.

Farm City Scholarship

The 2015 Howard County Farm-City Scholarship was presented to Jackie Bauer, who grew up on her family’s Rural Rhythm Farm and is a 2015 graduate of Glenelg High School. She is attending Oklahoma State University, where she is studying Agricultural Communications and Animal Science.

“With my degree, I hope to be able to share my passion and story about agriculture, to help others better understand the farming lifestyle and to educate them about the industry that not only feeds them three times a day, but also provides so much more,” Bauer said. “In short, I will like to help fill the gap between the farming and non-farming communities, particularly in Howard County.”

During Bauer’s senior year at Glenelg High School, Bauer interned for the HCEDA with Kathy Zimmerman, the county’s agricultural development manager. In addition, the HCEDA awarded her a paid internship this summer. Bauer was also named 2015 Miss Howard County Farm Bureau at the county fair.

Beginning in 2010, the Farm-City Celebration Committee has presented a scholarship to a recent Howard County high school (public or private) graduate who plans to pursue a career in agriculture, animal welfare or any other field benefiting the agricultural community.

Farm-City Celebration

Join in on 16 days of fun for families, learning experiences for kids of all ages, and an opportunity to appreciate the contributions our farms make to the quality of life for all during the 12th Annual Howard County Farm-City Celebration, to be held Sept. 26-Oct. 11.

Howard County Farms are welcoming visitors to fall festivals and when educational opportunities arise throughout the county. Learn more about the Howard County Farm-City Celebration at www.farmheritage.org.

Alice Settle-Raskin is the owner of Woodbine-based Alice’s AgriMaryland. She can be contacted at 240-449-6435 and alices.agrimaryland@gmail.com.