RUTABAGA DOPING SCANDAL ENGULFS VENERABLE VEGETABLE ATHLETIC COMPETITION ITHACA, NY - The Official Rutabaga Curling Committee of the Ithaca Farmers Market announced today that it has identified systemic evidence of rutabaga doping at the Rutabaga Trialing Laboratory Complex at Blue Heron Farm. An anonymous tipster sent Curl officials pictures detailing what appears to be Farmer Lou Johns preparing to inject Curl Rutabagas with some sort of substance via syringe. It has yet to be determined whether the substance is one of the 4,607 substances prohibited by Curl bylaws from being used in the competition, including caffeine, melted toffee and valerian root. "We promise a full, independent investigation of this possible egregious violation of both the letter and the spirit of the Rutabaga Curl's rules," said High Commissioner Peter McDonald, reached via satellite phone in Minsk, where he is on the trail of a mysterious, heirloom rutabaga strain. Curl bylaws suggest several punishments for doping-related infringements: lifting 50 pounds of rutabagas five feet in the air 10,000 times; writing the words "I will not inject illicit substances into rutabagas" on a blackboard 800 times; or being required to eat 25 12-ounce bowls of rutabaga stew in a single sitting. Farmer Lou Johns was unable to be reached for comment by press time, but his wife and fellow farmer Robin Ostfeld vigorously defended her husband, telling the Curl committee members that the syringe was merely used to inject a calming herbal supplement into the often-anxious rutabagas. "We are sincere organic farmers who would never dope our rutabagas," she said, noting that they have proudly grown the Curl's rutabagas since the sporting competition began 15 years ago. "There must be some mistake." ABOUT THE CURL: The Ithaca Farmers Market has proudly sponsored the International Rutabaga Curling World Competition since it began 15 years ago with the initial descent of the flaming rutabaga torch carried by the Rutabaga Goddess down from Mt. Cruciferous. What was once a small event has blossomed into a world famous sporting competition, attended by celebrities and elite athletes. It is held on the last selling day of market; this year it falls on December 22nd. Everyone is welcome to participate; the games start at high noon and there is a category of competition for youngsters called the Turnip Toss as well.