Elwood prepares for 32nd annual Red Gold Chili Cook-Off

Posted at 3:57 PM, Oct 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-02 15:57:52-04

ELWOOD, Ind. -- The city of Elwood is about to issue a Code Red Alert. It has nothing to do with weather or security. This is all about ripe, juicy tomatoes – and chili!

Tomatoes are king in this Madison County city, which happens to be the corporate headquarters of Red Gold, a still-thriving family-owned business where growth is everything.

The Midwest tomato harvest is in full gear, and Red Gold is in the middle of harvesting and processing 14,000 acres of tomatoes across Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. Red Gold employs more than 1,400 people full-time at processing plants in Orestes, Geneva and Elwood. It’s no small task: Indiana is the #2 tomato-growing state in the country (California is the largest.)

What do you do with at least SOME of that juicy red goodness if it’s not for ketchup and canning? Why, chili of course! So it’s a natural extension of the harvest season that Elwood and Red Gold are planning their 32nd Annual Chili Cook-Off Saturday October 14 in downtown Elwood.

But it’s about more than just the chili. The day is called Crush Hunger Saturday. Besides sampling the local product, the fundraising and wellness event includes Colt’s Blue Saturday, Indiana Craft Beer and Wine Garden, and a 10k, 5k and 1-mile family walk expected to draw more than 1,200 runners and walkers from 85 cities and eight states. The runs and walks start at 9 a.m., but they all end at the chili cookoff, which features at least 30 competitive chili recipes. Crush Hunger Saturday, which also features various entertainment and other activities, goes until 2 p.m. There’s a small charge for chili tasting, two cups for $1, 12 cups for $5.

Elwood Mayor Todd Jones says, “The tremendous growth of participants, sponsors, volunteers, community, school and civic involvement is the recipe for success that has already made this a premiere tradition in northern Madison County. This year we will have a police and fireman’s challenge, and hope to see some friendly competition from Anderson, Alexandria and other regional departments.”

For more information on the run, go to:; to learn more about Red Gold, go to:

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