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Horseradish Fest Serves Up Bloody Mary Contest and Success in Riverhead

Riverhead, NY (April 17, 2014) - What’s the best way to get the bitter taste of winter out of your mouth? If you guessed horseradish, you are correct! The 1st Annual North Fork Horseradish Festival proved to be a success on a gorgeous spring Saturday at the Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead, NY. Over a thousand attendees came out to enjoy the festival, which rounded up food, beverages, vendors, demonstrations, live music, contests, and games for all ages. “Besides the beautiful day, it was a well organized family friendly event. I was glad to see the diverse people that showed up to the event. We had a very successful day and look forward to future events with Starfish Junction,” said Greg Martin of Long Ireland Brewing Co., who was one of the participating breweries featured - the other being Moustache Brewery, another local favorite.

Keeping with the horseradish theme, John Barci of West Babylon took home awards for the North Fork Horseradish Festival’s “Best Horseradish Recipe” & “Best Bloody Mary” with his Bacon Wrapped Horseradish Shrimp with Horseradish Chantilly Crème Dip and his Southern Belle Mary, respectively. Honorable mentions from the Gold’s Horseradish sponsored Bloody Mary contest include Alyssa Martino and Megann Licata, bartenders at TJ Finley’s in Bay Shore, who tied for second place, and Gianna Volpe, bartender at Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar in Riverhead, who took home third place. Huge crowds of attendees were able to watch these contests take place, and see how horseradish is prepared, learned how to cook with horseradish, and harvest horseradish in free seminars. Children were able to get into the spring spirit by participating in egg hunts, corn hole, and even take a swing at Bunked!, the backyard golf game.

The participating vendors were a huge hit! Island Empanada went through 500 empanadas, and Chef Marc Anthony Bynum, two-time Food Network Chopped Champion, served up over 200 pulled pork sandwiches and over 250lbs of ribs. “The festival was very professionally set up from start to finish. As a vendor, the 2014 North Fork Horseradish Festival was the best festival Island Empanada has ever been to!” stated Island Empanada’s Owner, Roy Palaez. Not many people left empty handed as vendors provided an assortment of items such as Murph’s Famous Bloody Mary mix, Kilwin’s horseradish chocolates, ice cream, Pickle’s Plus pickles, Wild Coyote hot sauces, jams, baked goods, and of course horseradish. Schmitt’s Farm sold over 400 jars of their various Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish products.

The festival was also a boom for local Riverhead businesses with over 46% of attendees who took a post-event survey reporting they visited a local winery, dined at local restaurants, stopped at farm stands, and shopped after attending the festival. 15 of the over 40 vendors at the festival were from the North Fork of Long Island, 7 of them being from Riverhead alone. “I enjoyed being able to sample products before purchasing. The variety was great,” quoted one attendee. This festival was not only a nod to the horseradish community, but to the North Fork as well. “With the positive feedback from festival goers and vendors it is extremely motivating for us. Do not be surprised to see more farm themed festivals hit the North Fork in the future,” said Nora Donnelly, event coordinator at Starfish Junction Productions.

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