Just because you’re out hiking or cross-country skiing doesn’t mean you have to limit your eats to granola bars and gorp.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Portland Trails is launching a “Trail Gourmet” recipe contest, searching for the best on-the-go, meal-worthy snacks that can be carried in a backpack and eaten on a Portland trail.

We’re not talking baggies filled with baby carrots. For this contest, food is more than just fuel for your body. It’s something to be savored. It’s a delicious reward for all your body’s hard work.

“We would like it to be inspired by Portland’s trails, and also our local farms and gardens,” said Aurelia Scott, who is organizing the contest.

The recipe must be named for a Portland trail. Don’t take the easy way out. (Oat Nuts Park Trail seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it?) There are more than two dozen trail names to choose from, so let’s see some Mackworth Island Meatloaf or Capisic Brook Cannolis.

The contest is open to food professionals and amateurs alike, but pros and the public will be judged separately.

How fancy should you get? No one’s looking for white linen tablecloths to spread on a rock, but a dish that needs utensils is OK. Just don’t get carried away and start stuffing silver candlesticks into your gear.

“One could sit near Jewel Falls and have a little plate and a fork of whatever it is,” Scott said, “but I do think it needs to be easily carried in a backpack.”

To enter, submit your recipe named for a Portland Trail, along with a brief (one or two sentences) explanation about why the name was chosen. Include a photograph of the dish. The deadline for written recipes and photos is Feb. 22.

The three finalists in each category, professional and amateurs, will be announced on March 15.

Finalist’s submissions will be tasted and judged by:

• Kristin J. Wilson, an Appalachian Trail through-hiker

• Mary Paine, chef/owner of the Pepperclub restaurant

• Nancy English, food blogger and restaurant reviewer for the Maine Sunday Telegram

• Scott Anderson, chef/baker and co-owner of Rosemont Market

• Kate McCarty, food blogger (The Blueberry Files)

The winners will be announced April 7.

First prize will be a meal for two at a Portland restaurant. Two finalists will receive gift certificates to Portland food emporiums.

The winning recipes will be posted on the Portland Trails website and featured in local media.

For more information, go to the Portland Trails website, www.trails.org, or call 775-2411 and ask for Rachael Weyand.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

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