A victorious pairing at ‘Battle of the Growers’

June 25, 2018
Written by Greenhouse Canada
Winning team: Double Diamond, Pelee Island Winery and Smashed Apple Catering
Winning team: Double Diamond, Pelee Island Winery and Smashed Apple Catering Karen Brady, United Way
Last Friday, United Way’s second annual ‘Battle of the Growers’ took over Pelee Island Winery in Kingsville.


Voted on by official judges as well as the crowd, this year’s winning team was made up of Double Diamond Farms, Pelee Island Winery and Smashed Apple Catering. Their winning dish was the “Fried Green Tomato B.L.T.”, featuring green heirloom tomatoes among a combination of savoury tomato jam, roasted pepper cheese, micro greens and local pork belly.


“The winning chef, Smashed Apple told us he sampled 40 different tomatoes from Double Diamond, landing on the green tomatoes for his fried green tomato dish,” says Danielle Moldovan, relationship manager of new business & major giving at United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. “He was blown away by the operation at Double Diamond.”

Five teams from across the region took part in the competition. Each team consisted of a grower, a winery and a chef who highlighted local ingredients by creating a small plate appetizer and wine pairing for guests.

“Names were drawn out of a hat,” says Karen Brady, marketing & communications manager of United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. “The chef from each team worked with their grower teammate to decide how to feature the produce in a small plate appetizer of his/her own creation, and the winery paired the wine which would be served along with the app.”

Prepared onsite, each team served 250 guests who then voted for their ‘crowd favourite’. The identities of the official judges were kept a secret and only revealed at the end of the evening. They included: Jay Marchillo and Kendal Malewicz (Mix 96.7 Blackburn Radio), Giovanni Chimienti (TD Bank Group), Tim Seech (Libro Credit Union), Pina Ciotoli (Windsor Eats), Gail Robertson (Cypher Systems), Matt Isaacs (HUB International), Kyle Berard (Leamington District High School) and Ruth Stewart (Velocity Injury Law).

The soldout event also featured a silent auction and entertainment by singer Michael Vanhevel.

Presented by Libro Credit Union, the event raised $43,000 for United Way’s ‘On Track to Success’, a program in Leamington that supports students in their journey to post-secondary education. Now in its third year of operation, students in the program can earn up to $4,000 for post-secondary education and access a wide variety of support services such as tutoring, career building, mentoring and more.

The program has been in operation for three years in Leamington and now supports 39 students in grades 9 to 11, with plans to bring on more in September,” states the United Way. “It costs $6,000 per year per student, or about $120,000 to support a full cohort of 20 students.”

The United Way welcomes donations and volunteers.

For more program details or to get involved, contact:

·       Liam Giles-Hayes, Leamington Site Program Coordinator and Success Coach

519-326-8629 ext. 362

·       Alicea Fleming, West Windsor Site Program Coordinator and Success Coach

519-258-0000 ext. 1177






All photos courtesy of Karen Brady, marketing & communications manager of United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County.

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