There will be 54 restaurants competing for the best Island burger this year, up from 31 last year.Restaurants serve the burgers throughout the month of April, and diners vote for the best one.

The competition is designed to promote Island beef, with all the burgers featuring beef raised on P.E.I.

In 2011, restaurants went through about 1,200 kilograms of ground beef in the competition’s first year. Last year they served up almost 10,000 kilograms. Michael Frizzell, owner of Mike’s Queen Street Meat Market in Charlottetown, supplies many of the restaurants in the competition, and he is already getting ready.

“Some restaurants go through upwards of maybe 1,000 per cent higher in ground beef sales,” said Frizzell.

“You have to prepare yourself well ahead. It’s kind of good that it grew every year. This year you can kind of brace yourself and get ready.”

Everyone from farmers to butchers has to prepare, he said.

Brian Morrison of the P.E.I. Cattle Producers Association, said the competition has made a difference in P.E.I. beef sales.

“It’s always a positive story when Islanders are consuming Island products and supporting their local people,” said Morrison.

“We have a superior quality product here and it’s nice that we can showcase it.”

Melody Dover’s company Fresh Media created Burger Love.

“People have had an opportunity to reconnect what it means to support local, and what that does not just to the local economy, but that sense of community to know you’re supporting local farmers and your butchers,” said Dover.

The month-long feast starts on April 1st. Restaurants will unveil their burger creations in the near future.

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