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Pass the breath mints, the Great Onion returns

by: Submitted, Kelly Sinclair, winner of the 2005 Best Dang Onion Dish.

Onion lovers unite! The Sherwood Chamber of Commerce pays tribute to the original Sherwood onion farmers during the well-known Great Onion Festival held every year in October. The 20th annual event traditionally celebrates the end of the onion harvest.

This year's festival is again at Archer Glenn Elementary School at 16155 Sunset Boulevard in Sherwood, on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, and is free.

During the 1890s and early 1900s Italian farmers from the East Coast settled in Sherwood to cultivate onions. Once the West Coast's largest onion shipper, today most of the city's onion flats are now part of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. However, several area onion farmers are still cultivating the zesty vegetable and help provide the festival with fresh, home-grown onions. Amstad Farms will generously donate over 1,800 pounds of onions.

The Onion Festival features the city's volunteer firemen's famous barbecue chicken dinner accompanied by a tasty baked onion, beans and cole slaw. This indoor event attracts many hungry people who rave about the tasty food and pleasant gathering of folks who make up Sherwood.

Onion lovers vie once again for the illustrious title of the "Best Dang Onion Dish in Sherwood." The addition of this contest will surely lure onion lovers from near and far especially since the entry rules are somewhat lax - any kind, any form, any fashion and anybody may enter their best onion dish.

In addition to the food, local vendors set up booths so that festival goers can browse and buy a variety of things. In the school's courtyard, a farmer's market offers fresh fruit and vegetables during this harvest season. An added addition returns again, the Onion Eating Contest sponsored by Pacific Family Dental along with many children's games such as bowling for onions, pumpkin decorating contest and the onion toss.

John L. Scott Real Estate - Sherwood is back again as title sponsor (aka Onion Lover) for the 20th annual Great Onion Festival. Onion Admirer is Providence Newberg Medical Center and the 2006 Pearl Onion is Sherwood Dental Care. They play a large part in the success of this event and make it fun.

Volunteers are also critical to the success of the Great Onion Festival. If you are interested in volunteering for this fun event, call the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce at 503-625-7800 or visit our website at http://www.sherwoodchamber.org/onion.html.

2006 Best Dang Onion Dish Contest

In concert with the Great Onion Festival on, the 'Best Dang Onion Dish' contest will showcase the local culinary talent in a relaxed forum of competition. The festival is slated for Saturday, October 14, 2006 from 9 AM to 4 PM at Archer Glen School in Sherwood.

There is limited kitchen space, contestants are encouraged to register as soon as possible and are also encouraged to produce the recipes at home as much as possible. Early registration is also encouraged so that the contest management may arrange for the appropriate sampling containers for the general public to eat from.

Presentation of the dishes to the judging staff will be on 10" white plates and 12 ounce bowls.

The contest is open to anyone, from the seasoned culinary professional to the food flingin' amateur. First place will be awarded a plaque, and second and third place will be given ribbons.

Contestant biography is suggested. Biographies should be brief covering most importantly cooking experience and highlights leading to the entrance of the 'Best Dang Onion Dish' contest. A contestant photo is also suggested.

Registration forms and rules may be found at www.sherwoodchamber.org/onion.html

Bargreen Ellingston, a member of the foodservice community since 1960 will be coordinating the event.

General Rules

Judging Information:

The Best Dang Onion Dish contest will be judged at the Great Onion Festival on October 14, 2006 at on (time and date)

Judging will be open. The general public will be witness.

Judging will consist of three judges.

Judges will offer individual critiques to contestants at the close of the competition.

Judging criteria: Taste Appeal 40 points, Appearance 30 points, Texture 20 points, Creativity 10 points. Each recipe will START with full points and be deducted based off of the judge's individual observations. A score of 1 in any category would mean that an egregious oversight has occurred. In this case the contestant will, in most cases, be approached by the judging panel to rectify the situation.

Ten-inch white plates and 12 ounce bowls will be supplied by the judging committee* and can be used to by the competitors, alternatively, competitors are welcome to use plates and bowls of their contestant's choice. Three plates will be used for tasting and the fourth will be used as a showpiece for display and photography.

Each judge will score the entries based on the above judging criteria. Remember that each dish will be in front of three different people. Keep consistent for the best results.

Results will be tallied. If there is a tie a coin shall be used to determine the winner.

Eligibility:

Culinary professionals and amateurs are welcome to enter.

Contestant bio is suggested. Bios should be brief, covering most importantly cooking experience and highlights leading to the entrance of the Best Dang Onion Dish contest.

A contestant photo is also suggested.

Recipes:

The recipe MUST feature the main festival ingredient...the Onion. Contestants are not limited to a certain type of onion, rather they are encouraged to show a recipe that features garlic, chives, leeks, scallions and any variety of the onion family (Alliaceae).

Contestant must submit recipe to the judging panel with contest entry form.

All entries must be "made from scratch".

Frozen entries are not suggested.

After cooking, the recipes should be held at no less than 140 degrees OR cooked food shall be cooled within 2 hours from 140 degrees to within 70 degrees AND within 4 hours from 70 degrees to 41 degrees or less.

Potentially hazardous food that is cooked, properly cooled and later reheated for hot holding and serving shall be reheated to 165 degrees for at least 15 seconds.

Refrigerated entries must be kept cold as per HACCP guidelines. Consider using an insulated container to transport.

Remember, there will be many people indulging on your entry. Following safe production guidelines is good for all.