Have you saved the date for the Grayson County Youth Livestock Show and County Fair? It’s August 11 from 9 am to 4 pm at Bottomley’s evergreens and farm in Elk Creek. The Livestock show is in its 13th year, but the Fair is brand new and needs your support!
Please plan to exhibit your vegetables, canned and baked goods. Entry forms for youth and adults are available here: independencefarmersmarket.org/fair and at https://www.graysoncountyva.com/fair. You’ll also find the 2018 Exhibit Book which lists all the categories that will be judged this year and the publication “Exhibiting fruits and vegetables” by the University of Kentucky that tells you everything you need to know for a great display.
I talked about exhibiting vegetables in the last article. This time I’ll give more detailed information for exhibiting canned and baked goods.
Here are the basics from the Exhibit Book: “To be eligible for judging, entries must be in regulation canning jars with a two-piece vacuum seal lid. Judges may open the top four (4) jars in each category and taste to determine the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category. If necessary, more jars may be opened to determine a winner. No paraffin wax may be used. Entries will be judged on appearance, texture, and container. Flavor may be a part of the judging process in any category if needed to determine winners. No food coloring is allowed. Product must have been canned or preserved within the last year by the entrant.”
Be sure to use new lids. Rusty bands or dusty jars are obvious no-nos. Follow the recommendations for headspace. Uniformity of size of the items canned and care in placement are also important. The jar on the right has better uniformity of slices, color, and placement. There’s a lot of empty space in the jar on the left and more than recommended on the jar on the right. Hopefully, someone will enter a jar of perfectly paced pickles that will take the blue ribbon! Judging is anonymous, so no labels, please.
Here are the basics for baked goods: “Exhibitors must have food on a disposable plate and in zipper-type plastic bags, except for decorated cakes. Larger items that do not fit in plastic bags must be easy to open. All baked exhibits will be judged according to taste, appearance, and texture. Decorated cakes will be judged on appearance alone and will not be cut or tasted, so that forms may be used. All food must have been prepared by the exhibitor.”
Be sure to check the Exhibit book for the correct quantity to enter. For example, cookies, brownies, biscuits, and muffins require 3 items. Make sure all three are uniform in size and shape. Cakes, bread and pies require a single whole item. Taste is the main factor in baked goods judging. Many fairs do not taste canned goods because of safety concerns but baked goods are always tasted except for the decorated cakes, as noted above. Appearance is the second most important factor. Everyone appreciates a beautiful pie or a nicely frosted cake. The texture is also important. A crisp cookie or a perfectly dense brownie…this is making me hungry. I hope it is making you want to enter the fair!
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or