Third annual Martha’s Vineyard Local Wild Food Challenge is Monday

John Searle's wild bear ravioli won him the Best Effort Prize in 2011. He received a $100 gift card to Menemsha Cafe and a jeroboam of wine from Your Market. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

The third annual Martha’s Vineyard Local Wild Food Challenge will be on Monday, October 8, at the Rod & Gun Club on Sengekontacket Pond in Edgartown. The event is designed to showcase the skills and resourcefulness of Vineyard cooks, both professional and amateur, and the wild foods that grow on the Vineyard.

Hunters, foragers, fishermen, restaurants, home cooks, caterers, and children are all welcome and are encouraged to enter a dish that includes at least one wild ingredient. The challenge is open to anyone, and it is free to enter.

The dish must be an entrée-sized portion, and making more for the tasting table is encouraged. Entries may be any type of food: hot, cold, frozen, liquid. Teams are welcome, but only one entry/dish per team is accepted.

Judging is based on ingredients, taste, presentation, and effort. All entries will be anonymous to the judges. All dishes must be pre-prepared, however there will be a refrigerator, hot plate, oven and grills, prep tables and boards at the venue if you need to finish off your dish.

Written descriptions and or stories about the dishes are suggested, e.g., where the local wild ingredient came from and what it took to put it together. The descriptions should be no more than 250 words, plus whatever photos you want to include.

Hal Ryerson of Détente Restaurant won last year’s event with local bay scallops on a parsnip purée made with The Grey Barn and Farm’s cream and smoked sea salt with a Russian olive gastrique alongside a salad of arugula, Quitsa pond sea beans, and Tiasquin Orchard McIntosh apples. The dish also included dolmas: wild grape leaves stuffed with rice, homemade lemon confit, wild oregano, and locally made pancetta. He won a cruise to Nantucket for eight with dinner and a cutting board.

Charlotte Rooney, 10, won the Best Kids Dish category last year for her M.V. PB&J, a sandwich made with wild black chestnut butter with wild raspberry jam on wild yeast flatbread cooked in a wood fire oven. It was served on a dish with wild greens — purslane and dandelion — with home-grown cucumber, carrots, and garden herbs, with a wild raspberry and fresh yogurt dressing. For dessert, she made a wild pear crisp with wild autumn olive, blueberry, and strawberry syrup and black chestnut topping. Her prize: a pizza and gelato party for 10 friends at Lattanzi’s.

More than 30 sponsors have contributed prizes worth more than $8,000. Four prizes will be given in each of the following categories: wildest ingredient, best effort, the Hemingway award (best story), best from the ocean, best from the land, best on the wing, best kids, best use of local ingredient. There will also be many merit prizes.

A bar serving wine and beer will be open throughout the event.

The Challenge starts at 3 pm; all entries must be registered by 6 pm. Enter by email to

For more information, email, visit,or call 508-939-1113.