Do you know what characteristics make a vegetable one of high quality? Do you know which vegetables to choose for exhibition? Do you know how to prepare a vegetable for exhibiting?
Vegetables will be evaluated on five different criteria: Condition, quality, uniformity, true-to-typeness, and size. If you are going to exhibit vegetables you need to learn the characteristics criteria.
CONDITIONwill carry 25 percent of the total score for the exhibit. Points will be lost when disease or insect damage is evident on any part of the specimen. Produce which has been improperly washed and/or poorly prepared (trimmed) will also loose points. Certain produce will have a delicate, powdery coating called "bloom" which is considered desirable. Too much handling or washing will remove the bloom and result in a loss of points. Mechanical injury can happen at any time. It can happen before harvesting, but generally happens in picking or transporting the produce. It is always a good idea to bring a few extra specimens which can be put out at the last minute if one of the better ones has been damaged.
QUALITYwill carry 20 percent of the total score for the exhibit. It is important that the produce not be over ripe or under ripe. It should be at the perfect stage for eating. Also it should not be wilted or shriveled, rough or misshapen. The exhibit consisting of the most attractive specimens will receive the highest marks.
UNIFORMITYwill carry 20 percent of the total score for the exhibit. If there are five specimens in an exhibit they should all look the same. They should be of the same size, shape, color, condition, degree of maturity and be prepared in the same manner. Most first time exhibitors loose points in this area more than any other area.
TRUE-TO-TYPENESSwill carry 20 percent of the total score for the exhibit. Each variety of given vegetable will have certain characteristics which make it different from other varieties of the same vegetable. Some of these differences are shape, size, and color. For instance, many different shades of red and even a few shades of yellow are found in different varieties of tomato. One is not necessarily better than another if both shades are characteristic of their variety. However, a variety which may be known for later ripening will lose points under quality if it is not yet to the proper stage of ripeness.
SIZEof the produce will carry 15 percent of the total score for the exhibit. The exhibiting of vegetables is not a contest to see who has grown the biggest specimen. Likewise, the "cutest" (smallest) specimens should be left at home. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes, have varieties which are very small and are often included in a separate class.
Exhibits of vegetables, which have the incorrect number of type(s) of entries, will be moved to last place. In order for an exhibit to receive a blue ribbon it must score very high in all five areas, have the correct number of specimens and be properly prepared.
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