How to win at the village show

Our little village has a spring and an autumn show.  The Eastington Community News came out and the planning started in August.  The question is always which classes to enter.  We went all in this year and entered 12 categories out of the 61 possible classes.

I love local and village shows.  They are about community rather than about perfect long carrots and polished onions.  Having said that it is still a competition.  Our autumn show had a great turn out this year there were over 300 entries.

The allotment society had a strong showing and split the vast majority of veg prizes between a father and his daughter. It became obvious that the winning crops were standard F1 varieties. The only class that I felt a bit miffed about was the 6 different tomatoes.  We had 6 different varieties all in peak condition and we did not place.  1st second and 3rd went to 3 standard red salad and 3 red cherry tomatoes.

I took careful note of the less popular classes, for example there was only one entry for the brown bread and only 2 cacti.  I will steer clear of the Victoria sandwich cakes, there were 8 entries and they all looked amazing.

So how did we do? Not too bad – a 1st, 2nd and 3rd and 3 highly commended. How on earth we got highly commended for the carrot is beyond me!  They are all different sizes and wonky.  However, I am very pleased with the chutney.  First prize for rhubarb and ginger.

Next year, we will also have a go at the country wine section with our apple wine.  I want to try making bread next time I think. We will also have to learn how to present our produce a little better.  There is one guy with a 3D printer and he prints “egg cups” for his tomatoes and onions.

So there are 4 options for the next show

  1. grow “competition” veg eg nice red Shirley tomato
  2. grow lots of one variety and ruthlessly sort them eg 15 runner bean plants
  3. pick the classes that no one else enters
  4. shrug your shoulders and enter what ever you want.  Who cares it’s only a small community show and its about taking part

I can’t wait for the spring show classes to be announced and maybe someone can explain how to win at the village show.

PS My Dad won best in show for his biggest onion from an onion set at his village show – it weighed an impressive 2lbs 10 oz.

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