The Powerhouse will present a jam competition and pancake dinner, a fundraiser Oxford’s weekly farmer’s market, this Thursday, June 25.
The Jam Jam competition was the brainchild of Stacey Sanford, a local jam-maker herself. She said she was inspired by the chili cook-off held last December by Gaining Ground, which is co-sponsoring the event along with Yoknapatawpha Arts Council.
After discussing plans for the competition with Gaining Ground, a nonprofit sustainability institute, Sanford got a call from Betsy Chapman, director of the Oxford City Market, who wanted to put together a locally sourced pancake dinner.
“She’s like, ‘What do I put on local pancakes?’ I said, ‘why don’t you put local jam on them?’ And it grew into this giant conglomeration,” Sanford said .
The event will feature live music from And the Echo and DJ Milli Vanilli, as well as fresh pancakes, the perfect base for testing multitudes of jams and jellies.
The pancakes will be made, for the most part, of locally sourced ingredients. The eggs will be from Oxford City Market, the milk from Brown’s Family Dairy, and the rest of the ingredients will come from local businesses.
Competitors are allowed to submit jams until the start of the event, and each competitor may enter any number of jams they wish.
For those who are fans of the jams currently sold by vendors at the Oxford City Market, Sanford said that, as of now, about 4-8 of the jams in the competition are also featured at the market and “others who are not necessarily with the market, but are also market buyers.”
“I think that jam is one of those things that’s sort of individualized,” said Sanford. “If you have ever had homemade jam, it’s definitely up to the cook to make it good… So we wanted to use that and encourage buying local fruit and canning and preserving.”
The judging will be up to the attendees of the dinner, according to Sanford. Along with a stack of pancakes and a rainbow of jams, people will be given scorecards to choose their favorite jam, jelly or compote.
The winner will be given a free booth space at the Oxford City Market for a month.
“(We’re) trying to get those people who do make jams, who may not already be involved in the market, more involved in the market,” Sanford said . “That is the point. To benefit small businesses.”
Along with Sanford’s own peach jam, she said the competitors so far have entered a wide range of fruits and flavors. Strawberry, several types of grape, and even pineapple jam will be available for tasting along with a few savory jams.
The competition will be steep, but by Thursday night, Oxford will know whose jam reigns supreme.
Tickets may be purchased before the event at http://jamjam.bpt.me/ or at the door for $5, and a mimosa may be added to the pancake dinner for an extra $3. Families of four may purchase a ticket for $10, and for those who are feeling generous, there is an option to purchase family tickets along with tickets for a More Than a Meal family. Volunteers and competitors will be serving pancakes and jams from 6:30-8 p.m., or until all the pancakes are gone.