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Green Mill sweeps cook-off

ABOVE: From left: Mike Christians, Seth Becker, Trenton Vlieger and Joey Peterson, staff from Green Mill restaurant smile with a first place plaque Wednesday evening at the Martin County Blue Ribbon Pork Cook-Off at the Martin County Fair. Green Mill took first in both the People’s Choice and Connoisseur division.

FAIRMONT– On Wednesday night the 24th annual Martin County Blue Ribbon Pork Cook-Off took place at the Martin County Fair. This year, five entrants each concocted a unique pork dish but it was Green Mill Restaurant that took first place in both the People’s Choice and Connoisseur divisions.

This year’s participants included Cup N’ Saucer, Green Mill, The Marina Lodge, Rose Lake Golf Club and HyVee.

Green Mill served Bahn Mi pork nachos. The dish used pork cushion meat in a maggi marinade. It also featured tri-color carrots, daikon, roasted corn and was topped with a Thai mayo.

On taking first place, General Manager, Mike Christians, said, “it’s just fun to be out here.”

As for coming up with the dish, he said they had been flipping through some old ideas and just got lucky on picking this one.

Green Mill has been a constant competitor in the cook-off but this was the first year it nabbed first place in both categories.

The Marina Lodge took second place in both divisions. It served poppin’ pork quesadillas filled with its in-house pork carnitas and Mexican corn dip. Also included in the quesadillas were red bell peppers, red onion, green onion and cilantro. The quesadillas were served with a side of jalapeño aioli made in-house from scratch.

HyVee nabbed third in both categories with a smoked pulled pork sandwich. For the dish, pork butt was smoked with apple and cherry wood. It was topped with double dill slaw with crispy dillies and served on a Hy-Waiian bun with BBQ sauce.

Cup N’ Saucer offered slow roasted pork tacos with huitlacoche cream, local tomato salsa, pickled local corn and red onion and local poblano sauce.

Rose Lake Golf Club served Mongolian pork on rice which was a sweet and spicy dish that featured pork tenderloin. It was topped with sesame seeds.

The Connoisseur’s division was made up of a trio of judges: Justin Berhow, Executive Chef of Olde Brick House; Pam Voelke, Director of Events and Promotions for the Minnesota Pork Board; Larry Liepold, owner of Liepold farms and serving on multiple pork boards.

The People’s Choice votes came from the many taste-testers who savored each dish. Each year, the cook-off proves to be a sell-out and this year was no exception with all 400 tickets being spoken for by the time the event started. Ticket sales fund two $2,400 scholarships which go to area students planning to study an ag-related field.

This year, they went to 2022 Martin County West graduates, Lauren Borchardt and Tanner Sinn.

The event is sponsored by the Agri-Business Committee of the Fairmont Area Chamber of Commerce, martin County Pork Producers and Martin County Corn and Soybean Growers.

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