Monday, October 1, 2018

Harvest Monday - 1 October 2018 - Blue Ribbon Edition Part III

The last week of September is time of the nearby Deerfield Fair, now in its 142nd year. For three years, we have enjoyed entering our produce and home goods in the competitions. The Fair even made the national news this I will describe in a moment.

Our involvement started immediately after the last fair...when we fantasized about all the lovely things we would enter next year! Then it's a season of planning, growing and hoping. What will it bring? So many things out of our control.

During fair week, the schedule went like this. On Tuesday, The Kitchen Goddess with help from her mother dropped off the entries. On Wednesday judging occurs. On Thursday, the fair opens. We visited on Friday, instead of Saturday as usual. I'm glad we did, as I read that the line of cars waiting to enter was backed up for six miles, but we just breezed in. Still, it was very well attended for a weekday. On Sunday after the fair closes at 7 PM we have to go back and collect our entries. It's a lot of running back and forth, but fun!

This year TKG entered nine jars of canned goods, plus two other special entries. I entered four vegetables. I wanted to do several more, but had crop failures.

Here are TKG's entries, and the results. For canned goods, the judges give helpful comments when they don't award a first prize.

  1. Strawberry Sauce - Blue
  2. Raspberry Jam - Blue
  3. Bloody Mary Mix - Blue
  4. Chopped Tomatoes in Juice - Blue
  5. Spaghetti Sauce - Blue
  6. Salsa - Blue
  7. Tomato Sauce - Blue
  8. Pears in Light Syrup - Red (judges said it was over-packed)
  9. Stewed Chopped Tomatoes - White (judges said too much headspace)
Of course she agonizes over anything that wasn't blue, but I think it was an impressive array.

Here are my results. The fresh vegetables were downright gross by the time we picked them up, so no pictures of them! The judges here don't give comments unfortunately.

  1. Pinto Beans - Blue
  2. Jilo Eggplants - Blue
  3. Calabrese Hot Peppers - White. I knew these weren't going to get 1st, because I couldn't pick 5 the same size.
  4. Romano Bush Beans - White. I thought I would do better with these; not sure what went wrong.
Next year, try harder!

There were two untypical entries for us this year. First, TKG entered the Scarecrow Contest. There aren't any rules except it has to be no more than a certain size, and must feature at least five fruits or vegetables. I think she did a really imaginative creation. It's a representation of a Corn Maiden effigy. The body was our own cornstalks and leaves, and she was adorned with seven products of our gardens, such as hops, ground cherries, corn cobs, etc.

Corn Maiden for the Scarecrow Competition
She got a 4th place award. Comparing the higher-scoring entries, I guess the judges value humor and kitsch over artistry. Still, she got a $70 cash prize.

Her other entry was in the Flower Show. It was in the category "Wild or Garden Flowers in an Unusual Container." She arranged our own flowers in a whimsical vase we found at a flea market.

The judges gave it 3rd! I thought it was super-cute.

Our total cash winnings were $119, with TKG deservedly earning most of that. Of course it's not about the money. We just love the competition, and a chance to show off our stuff. Nothing wrong with that, right?

So what's this about the national news? It was in the giant pumpkin competition. A New Hampshire man set a new US record for heaviest amazing 2,528 lb. (~1147 kg) monster!

A new US record!
He earned $6,000 in prize money. No, I'm not really tempted to get involved in the giant pumpkin process.

We continue to encourage you to get involved in fairs or agricultural expos if you have the opportunity. You won't regret it.

I'll be back next week with "real" harvest news. Until then, thanks so much for reading. Thanks as always to Dave at for providing this fun forum.


  1. What fun to hear of the Deerfield Fair. Reminds me of the Topsfield Fair when I lived in Ipswich, MA. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I went once to Topsfield a long time ago. Now, it's the same weekend as Deerfield, so we can't go unfortunately.

  2. Congratulations to you and TKG! It looks like the fair is loads of fun. We have a county fair here but I never go. Maybe someday.

    1. You should go and enter your peppers. First prizes for sure!

  3. I think you will need a bigger trophy case if you keep this up! Seriously, congrats to you both. I know it takes a lot of hard work. I remember once when I was young we were in ME when the Fryeburg fair was going on. My dad naively thought we could head out on a weekend morning to go there, and traffic was backed up we never even got close!