The island of Westray was crowned Orkney home produce champion after a fiercely contested community wide competition held in Kirkwall at the weekend.
A dozen Orkney parishes went head to head in the first ever Homemade in the Parish event, staged by Orkney Food and Drink.
The contest – part of the 2015 Year of Food and Drink programme in Orkney – saw teams from throughout the islands submit home made products across a wide range of categories – everything from jams, chutneys, shortbreads and cakes, to home brew, cheeses and savoury pies. There was also a special ‘Buns for Bairns’ baking category for children under 12 and an award for best-presented table.
A panel of judges sampled the parish team produce at the event, held in Kirkwall Grammar School on Saturday (9 May), before deciding on category winners. Members of the public also had the chance to taste and vote on the presentation of food being judged, before the special Parish Cup was awarded to top scoring entrants, Westray.
“We’ve been really impressed by the standard of all the produce entered,” said Fiona MacInnes from Orkney Food and Drink. “We didn’t know what the event was going to be like as it was the first time we’ve ever done it, so to see the effort everyone has put in has been fantastic. The support of the public has also been great. We counted on the people in the parishes to make this event a success, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.”
Mrs MacInnes said OFD hoped to make the new event an annual fixture in the Orkney calendar.
“We’ll build on this first one and see how we can develop it each year, making improvements where needed,” she added. “We couldn’t have hoped for anything better with this first competition though.”
Westray was represented by keen home bakers Netta Harcus and Ena Fergus, who encouraged fellow islanders to get involved with the event and submit their produce. On the day, Westray came away with several awards across the competition categories, making the island a certainty for the overall Parish Cup.
The prize for the best-presented table went to the island of Shapinsay.
Full results from the competition can be found on the Orkney Food and Drink website.
All of this year’s OFD events are being sponsored by NorthLink Ferries.
The image above shows Westray representatives Ena Fergus (left) and Netta Harcus (right), receiving the Homemade in the Parish cup from OFD’s Fiona MacInnes (far left).