How to Grow: Vegetables for the Fair

Learn about growing vegetables for the fair including how to exhibit them.

Listen to podcast:

Head of cabbage with a blue ribbon on it

It’s easy to win ribbons at the local fair for your vegetables. Just grow them well and follow the exhibition rules.

For me, the end of summer isn’t marked by shorter days or cooler temperatures, but by the county fair. “Fair” is actually an acronym, meaning farmer’s annual invitational review.

The first agricultural fair was held in 1810 in Pittsfield Massachusetts. The Berkshire Cattle Show was a place for farmers to meet and compare breeds of cattle. The hope was if we had better farmers, then we’d also have a better nation. Home gardeners also could be involved in the fair by showing off their best vegetables, flowers, fruits and herbs.

You and your kids can win ribbons, cash and have some fun.

It’s easy to participate. Contact the fair for more information on how to exhibit. I’ve been a judge at the Champlain Valley Fair for years and can offer some insider tips.

When exhibiting, follow the directions as to number and type of produce and plants being displayed. Make sure each vegetable is the appropriate size. Leave those zucchini boats at home. Or enter them into the heavy weight vegetable competition.

Of course, select the best looking disease and insect free flowers and vegetables.

Now for this week’s tip. It’s time to snip the vines of your pumpkins and melons. Cut off the ends of the vines, young flowers and the baby fruits so more energy goes into sizing up and maturing the fruits already set. There’s just not enough time for those baby fruits to mature before a frost.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio.