Cookie Till slices up some of the Perfect Peach Pie entries for the judges during last year’s contest.

DOWNBEACH – What do tomatoes and peaches have in common? Well, they’re both Jersey Fresh offerings that are at their peak at the height of the summer season, and they’re plentiful this month at local farmers markets.

But…it’s what you do with them after the purchase that makes them spectacular.

The Margate Community Farmers Market and the Ventnor City Farmers Market are giving amateur home chefs the opportunity to shine at two local cooking contests.

It’s the seventh annual Perfect Peach Pie Contest for amateur bakers Thursday, July 18 at the Margate market, which is held in the parking lot at Steve & Cookies By the Bay, Amherst and Monroe avenues.

Three local chefs will judge the best homemade peach pies and cobblers submitted by amateur bakers based on overall appearance, aroma, consistency, amount of fruit in the pie and taste, or “overall yumminess” starting at 10 a.m. A printed recipe must be submitted with each entry.

First, second and third place winners will receive $75, $50 and $25 gift certificates to Steve & Cookies restaurant and the first-place winner will automatically be eligible to enter the statewide competition. After judging, the public will get the opportunity to taste the pies with a $1 donation to Till’s “A Work in Progress” Foundation which supports urban gardens and educates children about healthy eating.

Hallee and Sage Adelman show their blue ribbon.

Hallee Adelman of Longport and her daughter Sage, 14, who took first place in the Margate contest last year, went on to win the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council’s statewide Perfect Peach Pie contest for amateur bakers. It was the third time the Adelmans entered the Margate contest, perfecting their recipe over the years, and this time adding cayenne and bourbon to the recipe.

You can register for the Perfect Peach Pie contest at

Ventnor market manager Penny Starer gets the salsa ready for judges to taste during the first-ever Salsa Contest last year.

The Ventnor City Farmers Market, which is held in the parking lot at St. James Church, Atlantic and Newport avenues, will be holding its second annual Salsa Contest 9:30 a.m. Friday, July 26.

Amateur cooks of all ages can enter one of two categories – tomato-based or fruit-based. Judges are looking for taste, texture and appearance. The first-place winner will receive $50 in “Market Bucks” for purchases at any market vendor, and have their recipe shared on the market’s Facebook page.

Last year, 12-year-old Sophia of Egg Harbor Township won the fruit-based category with her Caribbean-themed herb salsa. Kurt Kwart stuck with his tried-and-true, four-ingredient recipe for his classic Jersey Fresh tomato salsa.

The contest is open to all ages, but only one entry per person is allowed. Applications are available in advance at the Market booth during market hours, 8:30 a.m. to noon Friday mornings.

Those who register by July 19 will be given a container for their salsa, which must be delivered to the farmers market booth before 9 a.m. A printed recipe must be submitted with each entry. Entries will be limited to 10 in each category, so register soon.

For more information, or to get an application, email


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