Concord grapes class added to state fair culinary competition

New Competition Supports State’s Effort to Boost Concord Grape Industry in New York State

The Jam and Jelly competition at The Great New York State Fair’s 2018 Culinary Competition will feature a new class dedicated to New York State-grown Concord grapes, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner announced. The competition, sponsored by Hunter & Hilsberg, will be judged on Friday, Aug. 24. The event is one of more than a dozen culinary competitions and part of more than 70 agriculture and arts competitions taking place during the Fair.

The addition of the new class advances the State’s efforts to raise awareness of the Concord grape industry. Last month, the State hosted a Concord Grape Summit at the Grape Discovery Center in Western New York. State representatives, growers, researchers, processors and other stakeholders attended the summit to address the challenges and opportunities associated with the Concord grape industry in New York. During the summit, several initiatives were announced to help strengthen the industry, including expanding research, investing in new product and new market development and expanding marketing and promotional programs.

Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “We hope that this new class will encourage New York State residents to take advantage of the large Concord grape industry in our area. It’s a great opportunity to support and showcase the very best of our state products.”

Hunter & Hilsberg co-founder Hillary Hunter said, “Some of my fondest memories growing up in Upstate New York are of spending time in my grandmother’s kitchen, watching and learning how to make Concord jelly from grapes grown in her backyard. The annual Jam & Jelly competition helps keep this culinary art form alive — and what better way than with unique recipes using New York’s iconic Concord grape. We can’t wait to taste the new recipes and ideas from home cooks across New York State!”

Entries for the new class must be a jam, jelly, preserve, or other fruit blend spread using New York State-grown Concord grapes or Concord juice. The entries will be judged on appearance, texture, and taste. Other classes in the Jam and Jelly competition are: jelly, fruit jam or fruit blend jam, jam or jelly containing a New York State-produced craft wine, beer or other spirit, and a special class of jelly prepared without commercially-prepared pectin.Hunter & Hilsberg will also give a jelly-making demonstration on Saturday, Aug. 25 in the Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen in the Art & Home Center.

The Culinary Competition is held daily during the Fair in the Art & Home Center. This year’s competition features contests from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the New York State Maple Producers Association, and the Empire State Potato Growers Club, among others. Those interested in entering a competition must fill out an entry form by July 2. For a complete list of contests and entry rules, visit