The mystery ingredient in last Saturday's Garlic Chef Competition at the Delray Beach Garlic Fest came from an unlikely source. Mayor Nelson "Woodie" McDuffie provided 60 pounds of pork for the occasion -- and slayed the hogs himself.
"I was also sworn to secrecy," McDuffie says. But now that the fest is over, he can spill.
The festival organizers called on Delray's mayor because they know he regularly hunts wild boar. Usually, he says, he donates the meat to the Caring Kitchen, a program of C.R.O.S. Ministries that provides free hot meals to the poor in Delray.
"I get a little recreation, and we have some significant amount of meat that winds up going to the Caring Kitchen," he says.
To find enough hogs for the festival, McDuffie says he hunted on private land owned by some friends who needed to cull their exploding boar population.
He stalked his prey with a rifle, not the more controversial, and bloody, weapon of pit bulls. "That gets dangerous for a lot of reasons," McDuffie says. "We try not to come out of the woods with anything injured."
So after the mayor provided fresh pork chops and ribs to the Garlic Fest, did the organizers ask him to repeat the favor next year?
"They did not," he says.