October is the month to enjoy the first pick of almonds, walnuts, persimmons, winter squash, Brussels sprouts on the stalk and other much-anticipated stars of the season. We’ll be celebrating the bounty of fall at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday, October 26, at CUESA’s annual Harvest Festival. This year’s festivities include cider pressing, wool spinning, seasonal cooking demos from chef and author Laura Stec and Bluestem Brasserie executive chef Francis Hogan, and our very first Harvest Festival Pie Contest. That’s right, pie makers—start your ovens.
The Harvest Festival’s pie competition is open to the public and will be judged by a panel of esteemed pie makers and lovers, including Becky Courchesne of Frog Hollow Farm, cookbook author Stephanie Rosenbaum (aka The Pie Queen) of Bay Area Bites, John Birdsall of CHOW, Anna Roth of SF Weekly, Shauna DesVoignes of Knead Patisserie and others.
Pie submissions will be accepted in the CUESA Classroom from 8 am until 10:30 am on Saturday, October 26. Contestants will be judged on appearance, crust, filling and overall taste. Use of farmers market ingredients, creativity and originality of pie will also be considered. The first-place winner will be featured in the CUESA e-letter and receive a prize package valued at $200. Second and third place winners will also receive prize packages including restaurant gift certificates, farmers market coins and baking and cooking supplies. Need some inspiration? Check out our easy-as-pie tips and our fruit, nut and vegetable seasonality charts on the CUESA website.
The ladies of Three Babes Bakeshop, Lenore Estrada and Anna Derivi-Castellanos, will be in the CUESA Classroom from 9 am to 10:30 am to answer your pie-related questions and offer their tips and suggestions on how to make the best farmers market-inspired pie. Download a complete set of rules and the Harvest Festival Pie Contest entry form here and stop by the CUESA Classroom on October 26 to show us what you’ve got.
For market updates and seasonal tips follow Lulu Meyer @farmersmarketlu or check out @CUESA on Twitter.