IF YOU GO
WHAT Harvest Ridge Winery Food Truck Competition
WHERE Harvest Ridge Winery, 447 Westville Road, Marydel
WHEN 5 to 8 p.m., Friday; noon to 5 p.m., Saturday
CONTACT Call (302) 343 9437

A food fight is set to go down at Harvest Ridge Winery this weekend when a group of food truck owners from across the region invade Marydel for a food truck competition on Friday and Saturday.

“This is something different and unique for the area,” said Milan Mladjan, the vintner at Harvest Ridge. “There are a lot of gourmet trucks out there that are doing different stuff besides burgers and hot dogs,” Mladjan said.

Besides giving locals a chance to expand their food horizons, the event also gives participants a chance to give back. Ten percent of all proceeds from the event will benefit Operation Whitetail, headquartered in Bridgeville. Operation Whitetail is run by Greg and Shayne Meyer, who open their home several times a year to welcome in wounded soldiers.

“Our mission is to give back to wounded soldiers through the recreation of hunting, whether it’s deer or turkey and taking guys out fishing on the Chesapeake Bay,” Shayne said.

The money that is raised during this weekend’s competition will go towards paying for plane tickets, hunting licenses, hunter safety courses and all of the outerwear, excluding boots, that a soldier needs to go hunting, Shayne said.

“I met Chuck, the owner of Harvest Ridge, at the winery in February and we just both have the same heart,” Shayne said. “He wants to give back to vets and kids as much as I want to give back to veterans. It’s a perfect pairing.

“This is an awesome way for two people, profit and non-profit, to come together for a great cause,” he said. “It’s going to be a good time.”

Seven food trucks will be competing, with menus that range from Southern barbecue to hoagies and more. Some local trucks like Meat Mechanics, Bethany Blues, Mr. Bar-B-que and I Don’t Give a Fork will compete alongside trucks from out state, including  Sum Pig and Farm Truck, both from Philadelphia.

The Dover-based restaurant Meat Mechanics will bring their barbecue tacos and bratwursts to the competition.

Meat Mechanics owner John Mereider is looking forward to giving back to the veterans Operation Whitetail serves.

“Anything we can do for anybody else is something I’m willing to do,” Mereider said. “All those soldiers have sacrificed a lot for us and we don’t do enough for them.”

Mr. Bar-B-que, based in Milford, is another local truck competing this weekend. Owner Christ Yong will showcase his popular Carolina-style barbeque.

“I’m looking forward to meeting the other food truck people and battling with them on friendly competition level,” Young said.

Aside from duking it out over who has the best food, the event is also a good way to network, said Leigh Ann Tona, owner of I Don’t Give a Fork.

“It's just a fun way to get people involved with good, local food and good, local wine and merge some great businesses,” Tona said.

Harvest Ridge will also showcase its wine during the events. The winery will launch its newest vintage, a wine made using Fifer Orchards peaches at 5 p.m. on Friday. Wine tastings will be offered all weekend, as well. Wine tastings are $5. During the competition, Harvest Ridge will offer 10 percent off all bottles and glasses of wine.

Participants are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs. Tickets are not required for the event, but donations for Operation Whitetail are encouraged. For a $10 donation, attendees will be given a free glass of wine and a commemorative glass with the Operation Whitetail logo on it, Mladjan said.

“This is something a little different,” Mladjan said. “It gets people out of the downtown core and the Route 13 strip and brings them outside Dover to experience what Dover has to offer just outside the city limits.”