THE annual Sale Show carrot cake competition has been supported by Covino Farms, of Longford (Victoria) since its inception.
As a significant commercial grower of carrots, Stephen Covino said the business naturally saw the fit when Rosemary Mowat approached him.
Covino Farms provide considerable financial prizes across all sections of the competition – cakes and jam.
Steven Covino, director of Covino Farms, said the company’s support was an extension of their participation in other family-focussed community events, such as scouts, schools and the surf life saving club.
The family-owned Covino Farms produces 700 acres or 3500 tonnes of carrots annually.
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These crops are rotated with iceberg lettuce, baby leaf salad and the brassicas, cauliflower and broccoli.
“When we originally got involved in the agricultural show, there was a marked increase in insurance liability. It costs quite a lot of money to run an agricultural show. We looked at what we could do to keep the show going – it’s the only event in Sale that involves the entire community and families across generations,” Mr Covino said.
“We joined with other people from the business community to look at a whole raft of things that we could support, to ensure its continuity.”
That brought him into contact with Rosemary Mowat and her idea for a carrot cake competition.
“The carrot cake competition was an obvious focus for us – we provided sponsorship for display cases, signage, work in the art shed and the prizes each year. This year, Covino Farms donated upwards of $6500 in prizes,” Mr Covino said.
“We’ve increased the prize money over the years, to attract participants and showcase the competition for what it is.
“But it’s Rosemary’s drive that makes it a successful competition.”
Rosemary Mowat, a CWA-accredited cookery judge, created the national carrot cake competition at the Sale show in 2003.
There were 105 entries in its first year and the William Angliss College has provided judges from the inception.
Entry numbers have remained consistent, with 130 cakes judged across the four sections this year.
In 2004, a professional category was included and a bakery apprentice, Matthew Ewing, sent his entry from Caboolture, Qld, flying it to Tullamarine and by carrier to the Sale Show.
He won second place in the professional section of the competition. Professional bakers, Uli and Sally Wagner of Bairnsdale won in 2004; Michael Lowe of Yarram was third place-getter.
In 2005, Matthew’s parents brought two entries by road from Qld. That same year, 14 carrot cakes were entered from Bell, Qld – they were delivered by road, transported in eskies.
Carrot cakes have also been sent from NSW and throughout Victoria; although the majority of entries are from throughout Gippsland.
Mrs Mowat is still the coordinator but succession has been assured with her daughter and two granddaughters involved as stewards.