It is almost time for the White County Fair! Fair books will soon be scattered across the county, and I hope you will pick up a copy and start making plans for entering your exhibits. The fair is your opportunity to showcase what you have made or grown this past year.
Over my career I’ve had the opportunity to judge fruits, vegetables and crops at numerous fairs. Based on this experience, I would like to share some tips on preparing your fair exhibits.
Bigger is not always better when it comes to fruit and vegetables! The size of your vegetable entries should be typical of the variety and the size that fits the highest quality grade, not too large or too small. For instance, a round potato should be at least 2 1/2 inches and not more than 4 inches in diameter. Long potatoes should not weigh less than 6 ounces or more than 1 pound. There are no extra points for oversized vegetables, and sometimes these may be at a disadvantage. In addition, potato specimens should be mature with firmly attached skin. They should be bright, firm, well-shaped, and free from greening, sprouting, shriveling, or other damage. The tubers should be very clean, but not washed. The only classes where you need weight is the biggest watermelon and the biggest pumpkin.
One of the most important but difficult characteristics to describe is quality. Quality means that the vegetable is at its best and in prime eating condition. In some vegetables, prime eating condition may be at a fairly young stage such as in summer squash, okra or green beans. In others, such as tomato, watermelon or eggplant, it means fully developed fruits at the peak of maturity. The inherent quality of a vegetable includes color, shape, texture, taste and size.
Fruit and vegetable entries should have the correct number of items required in the class and all the specimens should be uniform in size. Presentation of your product is also a key to winning more blue ribbons! When preparing a display for exhibit or taking a look at the crop and vegetable display at the fair, it is helpful to know what judges look for. Remember that the judge has lifted and examined products and crops on all sides, so imperfections cannot be hidden.
UT Extension would like to encourage everyone to get involved in the 2022 White County Fair. Bring your entries or at least come visit! If you are interested in volunteering at the fair, please contact the UT Extension office (931) 836-3348. We hope to see you at the fair!
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