Sterling Heights serves up slice of competition with pie contest

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 2, 2015


Residents can prove that they represent the upper crust of culinary talent during a pie-baking competition at the Dodge Park Farmers Market Oct. 8.

The contest, sponsored by the Sterling Heights Parks and Recreation Department, is designed for amateur bakers. Only the first 10 people who register can participate, and they will be asked to send a copy of their recipe to the city.

According to Parks and Recreation Supervisor Troy Nowotny, entrants were still being accepted at press time.

“We just decided this might be a good special event time at the market,” he said. “Local produce, local fruits — the pie-baking competition just came from that.”

According to event organizers, the contest is divided into two categories. One category will compare fruit pies such as apple, cherry and peach. The other category will contain miscellaneous pies like pecan, pumpkin and sweet potato.

However, Nowotny said only dessert pies will be accepted and judged at the event, which means that meat pies won’t be included in the miscellaneous category.

Competitors are banned from using pre-made fillings or crusts, he explained.

“It is an amateur pie-baking competition,” he explained. “All of your ingredients need to be from scratch.”

Organizers say the judges will be edibleWOW Magazine publisher Robb Harper, The Henry Ford museum executive chef Mike Trombley and state Rep. Henry Yanez. During the competition, the desserts will be judged based on appearance, crust, filling and originality.

The best pies from each category will then go head to head before the final winner is chosen. Nowotny said prize ideas still were not set in stone, though items from the market or from vendors were being considered.

Recreation Manager Kyle Langlois said special events like the pie-baking contest are designed to intrigue new people into checking out the market.

“I think part of running a successful farmers market is to continue finding ways to keep people interested in what we’re doing,” he said. “Maybe there’s a tremendous pie baker who hasn’t come out to the farmers market … and they might want to enter.”

Jean Smith, market master for the Dodge Park Farmers Market, said she expects a nice turnout for the contest, adding that the market has already held special events like a pet parade and a sunflower contest to build excitement.

She said produce such as apples, apricots, pears, plums and pumpkins are in season and can be potential pie ingredients.

“We really want to inform the community that the farmers market is there for the community,” she said. “A lot of people out here like to cook with fresh ingredients. … We want the community to realize that fresh food is available, and the market is available for their convenience.”

The Sterling Heights pie-baking competition will be judged at 6 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Dodge Park Farmers Market, 40620 Utica Road in Sterling Heights. Registered contestants may begin to bring their pies to the farmers market starting at 3 p.m. Learn more by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2700.