Exhibiting garden treasures at county fair easy and fun

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If you’re like many people, you don’t have enough energy to bake a prize-winning apple pie or German chocolate cake for the fair this week. But entering garden items is really easy: cut or pick some nice-looking specimens, put them in a container or on a plate and take them to one of the two exhibit halls at the fairgrounds.

Vegetables and fruit exhibits can be taken to Zimmerman Hall today from 3 to 6 p.m. or Thursday morning from 7 to 9 a.m.

Take flowers and indoor plant exhibits to Knoblock Hall Thursday from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

Check the fair book

The only trick is to read the rules about how many of each kind of flower, fruit, or vegetable you plan to show, and how to present them, said Robyn Harrison, fair horticulture superintendent.

To do that, just check the Socorro County Fair and Rodeo book (available at the Socorro Chamber of Commerce on the plaza) or search “Socorro County Fair” on the web.

Floriculture exhibits a snap

I show cut flowers, because they are the easiest to prepare.

This year, my roses are a mess because of the heat, but if your roses look good, snip a bud or a spray of blooms, put them in a jar labeled with your contact information — name, address, and phone number — and you’re good to go.

You will win more points if you include the rose’s name, such as Peace or Mr. Lincoln, said Susan Miller, fair floriculture superintendent.

You can enter any flower you find in your yard, but there are special divisions for asters, dahlias, gladioli, marigolds, sunflowers, cosmos, and zinnias, to name a few.

Just as for roses, if you have time to look up their scientific name, you will earn more points, she said.

The flowers don’t have to be cultivated, Harrison said. People can show common roadside blooms, such as wild sunflowers.

Miller said if you have a flower not on the list, bring it anyway. It will be shown in the “Any Other” class.

Children encouraged

“It would be nice if there were more children entering,” Miller said. “Children don’t have to have raised the flowers. They can just cut them. But no store-bought flowers. The flowers have to be from your own yard.”

Vegetable and fruit exhibits take a little more effort

Horticulture exhibits are more challenging because usually you have to find more than one good-looking specimen, but if you have melons or winter squash in your garden, one is all you need to bring home a ribbon.

“Bob Enders from Magdalena always brings in a gnarly-looking blue winter squash that wins a ribbon,” Harrison said. “Last year, Phil Norton from San Antonio won a blue ribbon for his watermelon.”

This year, tomatoes are my only hope. Out of the forty or so tomatoes on the vines, I should be able to find three to show.