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Life & Times

February 27, 2014

Pie bakers make the grade at Mack's contest

Bakers, tasters applaud return of Mack's apple pie contest

LONDONDERRY — May the best pies win, and they did.

According to a team of judges, winners of the Mack’s Apples pie contest had just the right stuff for what makes the perfect pie.

About 40 pies were entered in the popular contest in both traditional and nontraditional categories.

Some bakers entered both categories, some entered just one. Some entrants were veterans and other were newcomers, but all were hoping to win a ribbon for their baking talents.

The contest had been a Mack’s staple for many years, but was on hiatus in recent years, due to a smaller apple crop, Mack’s staff said.

This year, the contest was back and it drew a crowd.

Andy Mack Jr. did the emcee honors, calling the contest a “little piece of Americana.”

“We always see some beautiful pies up and down on the table,” Mack said.

Longtime Londonderry maple producer Hank Peterson is a fixture at the pie contests and offered some rules for judges in this year’s contest.

“You are not to eat the pies, only taste them,” he said. “And no eye contact with the contestants.”

Derry resident Marge Palmer was a first-time entry for her traditional apple pie made with her favorite McIntosh apples.

“I was here at Mack’s buying pears and signed up,” she said. “I make a very simple pie.”

Palmer said her pie may not be the most attractive, but she was hoping it might take a top prize.

“It’s in the taste, not the look,” she said.

Judges included community members, Mack family members and town officials, who took their time tasting and grading the pies. Scores were tallied by computer and the top pies made it to the final round. More tasting followed and the final three in each category were named.

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