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Winner named at Ocean Spray's tailgate recipe contest

by Brian Gaylord | October 26, 2009
FOXBOROUGH, MA -- On Thursday, Oct. 15, Katie Pelczar of Dedham, MA, was announced the winner of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc.'s tailgate cookoff held at Patriot Place Bog at Gillette Stadium, here.

Ms. Pelczar was one of three finalists to compete for the title, "Unofficial Official Tailgate Recipe of the New England Patriots." The event was held at the cranberry bog display set up just outside Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots.

Ms. Pelczar's winning entry consisted of grilled bacon apple bites with chunky cranberry spread. A Patriots fan and amateur chef, she won over the three judges on hand who tasted the finalists' offerings on the chilly fall morning. The judges were Chef Ming Tsai, host of public television's "Simply Ming" and chef-owner of Blue Ginger restaurant in Wellesley, MA; Cindy Taccini, senior manager of integrated marketing for Ocean Spray; and John Hannah, a National Football League Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Patriots.

In addition to taste, finalists' recipes were judged on appearance, aroma, creativity and ease of preparation. For winning the contest, Ms. Pelczar received tickets to the Oct. 18 Patriots game against the Tennessee Titans and a basket of Ocean Spray products. Prior to the Oct. 15 cookoff, Ms. Pelczar's recipe already was appearing on Ocean Spray's web site and now will appear on the Patriots official team site.

The tailgating cookoff was a lead-in to Ocean Spray weekend events held at Gillette Stadium. On Oct. 17-18, third- and fourth-generation Massachusetts cranberry growers for Ocean Spray were on site to tell the story behind the cooperative's agricultural heritage, share their personal growing history and provide details about the harvesting process.

Ocean Spray is headquartered in Lakeville-Middleboro in southeastern Massachusetts. Its bogs in Massachusetts are located in the southeastern part of the state. Gary Garretson, a grower in the Ocean Spray cooperative, raked cranberries in Patriot Place Bog while serving as a spokesperson for the cooperative at the Oct. 15 event at Gillette Stadium. He said that he has 200 acres of bogs spread over the towns of Carver, Middleboro, Rochester and Wareham in southeastern Massachusetts. He harvests cranberries from September through early November, and said that cranberries' "versatility and year-round use make it a year-round fruit."

Ms. Taccini, who referred to cranberries as the "unofficial official fruit of the [winter] holidays," said that cranberry recipes are popular, as is the Patriot Place Bog, now in its fifth year. She said that Ocean Spray is developing a seven-acre, working cranberry bog not far from Gillette Stadium. The area sits west of Boston and a good distance from Ocean Spray bogs in southeastern Massachusetts.

Ocean Spray is the official juice of the New England Patriots and Major League Soccer's New England Revolution.