By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE — In between tasting and stirring, it took Mike Schlenker, Jack Kircher and their wives about five hours to make nearly 25 gallons of Maryland crab soup to sell Saturday at the Selinsgrove Market Street Festival.
“We were tasting all night,” said Schlenker.
For the past five years, he and Kircher have been making the soup using a recipe provided by a friend who owns a seafood restaurant in Maryland.
Proceeds from sales of the soup at the festival benefit their church, St. Pius X in Selinsgrove.
The church initially sold pierogies made by parishioners when they joined the festival 10 years ago. Kircher later came up with the idea of adding soup to the menu and using his friend’s recipe.
The homemade soup was such a hit they now they focus on it and purchase the pierogies — about 340 dozen this year — from a Shenandoah couple.
Kircher and Schlenker got a surprise recently when they took their annual road trip to Maryland to buy 10 pounds of fresh crab meat and learned prices are up about 50 percent from five years ago.
They haven’t decided yet whether to increase the cost of a bowl of soup, which has in the past sold for $3.
One thing they are sure of is that customers will be satisfied.
“It’s hearty, rib-sticking soup,” Schlenker said. “You can’t eat it with a straw.”
The 35th annual festival will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and feature more than 90 vendors, a petting zoo, children’s games, live music and a talent show.