Last year I was inspired by Louise at Garden Glut who entered her local Ag shows in a number of categories. I intended to enter the show near the Country Garden, but alas, when it came time I realised that the show was mainly about horses and there weren't many of the traditional categories being run.
This year, however, was going to be different. My friend E has gone from a tiny vegie box garden to a much larger garden and house in the country, which she is rapidly planting out with an abundant fruit forest. In the meantime, until the garden starts producing, she has developed a strong love of foraging fruit from the side of country roads. We've done some drives to explore around her new neighbourhood, and on the occasions when we've been in different cars, I've inevitably lost her, and when I've retraced my footsteps to see where she's got to, I can guarantee that E has stopped off at a fruit tree that I didn't even notice and is happily filling up bags full of fruit!
And so it was when I arrived at her house a month back, there were bucketfuls of cherry plums harvested from beside the road. Luckily I'd come prepared with a big pot, wooden spoon and sugar, and with E's pressure cooker pot as well we got to work and made stacks of delicious jams, both light (yellow centres) and dark (red centres). Then last weekend it was time for her local Ag show, and we were determined to enter. We studied the rules and guides, to make sure that we wouldn't be disqualified for having the wrong lid or label, filled out all the forms and posted off the cheque (!) for $3.50 in entry fees. In total we entered one each of the light and dark jams, another plum jam that E made, a Raspberry and Rhubarb Jam of mine and some of E's beautiful pickled lemons. Then her daughter decided to enter their two chickens in the "Junior Handler" category, and the logistics got really interesting!
Finally the day of the show arrived to the biggest downpour in months. But that didn't dampen our enthusiasm, and neither should it have: Second Prize for both of the jams that we made together and a Second and Third prize for the chickens!! We're already planning for next year... ;)