Saturday August 23rd 2008, 5:33 pm

Aylburton Village Horticultural Show 2008

Today the village horticultural show took place. I was up at the crack of dawn doing research online to find out how my preserves needed to be presented for exhibiting, making labels and polishing my jam jars with white spirit. As it turned out the village show is slightly more relaxed than that and there wasn’t really any need for such a precise approach.
It was a good turn out. Runner beans seemed a popular category, a sure sign that they will grow no matter what the climate throws our way.

A magnificent truss of tomatoes

The biggest vegetable categories always hold a certain fascination with huge whopper marrows, a ginormous cabbage and a truss of tomatoes that would hardly fit on the table.

The giant marrow

I entered in three categories. The last one was really an afterthought based on my having noticed last year which categories had few entries, so cutting down the odds, or should I say making winning something of a dead cert. Lo and behold I won a first for my scented leaf geranium which only had one other plant to compete with.

Show shallots

My damson chutney won a second and my crab-apple jelly came third but competition was fierce in the jam and chutney categories.

crab-apple jelly exhibit

I was thrilled to come home with a first, second and third rosette and it is lovely to take part in such a special village event. The lady that won first for her blueberry and vanilla jam said it was only the second time she had taken part and last year she won a first as well. She obviously has the magic touch, sticky fingers you could say, so I have found out where she lives and intend to find out what her secret is. I have exactly a year to work on this!

prize winning tomatoes

More pictures from the show here.

Wednesday August 20th 2008, 10:31 am

red crab apples

With the village produce show looming, the weather has done noone any favours. I was sure that this year I could improve on my last years, first-time-ever entry of 3 courgettes, but with not a single one ready to pick my prospects seem gloomy.
Jam and chutney are my only hope. In fact with a dresser laden down with the stuff my biggest problem could be narrowing down which to enter. There is only one category for jam and marmalade and another category for chutney. I’m presuming that you can only enter once in each category, though someone did tell me that they enter several time in categories under other family members names. My household could be the only one with jam-making cats in that case. Tiddles Nicol’s entry of seville orange marmalade could be a bit of a give away!
Anyway, my challenges for the next few days includes making some crab apple jelly. My new friend Deborah kindly allowed me to pick some lovely red crab apples from the tree in her garden (does anyone know what this variety is?) and I have 2 bags full waiting to be made into this lucious amber gel. I’ll let you know how I get on.

red crab apples on the tree