There was elbow room only amid a circle of sweet salsa samples Friday at Gardengate as the Summer Salsa Challenge tempted tastebuds.
The annual event brings together community service providers and clients with disabilities, including those who are employed at the organic farm acreage in Brocklehurst.
Gardengate, operated by the Open Door Group, provides employment and supportive programs while contributing to health and wellness.
“I’ve been here over 13 years,” said Ken Plettl, explaining the benefits of learning gardening and gaining friendship.
Sara-Jayne Hebert, who coordinates the event, said most of the salsa ingredients are grown at Gardengate. It’s not so much about the food, though, as it is about the people involved.
“The whole idea of the event is to bring together the community, enjoy the sunshine and talk about inclusion.”
Two of 11 teams were tied for first place in the challenge — “The Southills Salsinators” from the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre down the road and “The Terminatoes” from Big Brothers and Sisters.
“There’s going to have to be a tie-breaker,” Hebert declared.
The Salsinators seem to have knack for it. They walked away with the Chef’s Choice Award last year.
“We are willing to share the title, but we want to take it home today,” said Katie Chapman with a mix of humour and determination.
Three awards were handed out at the event: People’s Choice, which was won by the Thompson Community Services’ team, “Dancing to the Salsa Beet;” Team Spirit, which was won by the Southills’ team, “The Salsanators;” and Chef’s Choice which was awarded by two guest judges from Fresh Is Best to the Big Brothers Big Sisters team, “The Terminatoes.”