The Life and Projects of An Avid Hobbyist

Saturday, July 19, 2008

NJ State Fair

When I was a wee tike, I was a Brownie (junior Girl Scout) ...and I never remember doing anything agriculture related. Unless you count digging up the backyard with a Tonka front-loader and dumpster (fun times).

This is a blurry shot of me receiving a pin of some sort.

I did, however, grow up with a lot of gardening and canning at home. My mother tended a small garden patch and the yard included a concord grape vine grown from a cutting from my great-grandmother Gaga's house.

For years in the fall, my mother would freeze and can tomatoes for later use. My Gaga, a lover of all things fermented, would make dessert wine and/or grape jelly with the tons of grapes that we would pick. While I was not much of a helper during those years, I kept my mother distracted by talking my head off...but something must have been sinking in.

I think in direct response to these influences*, I am a lover of many agricultural and culinary traditions like gardening, canning and preserving. This year, in addition to planting heirloom variety tomatoes, I am placing several entries into the NJ State Fair (for my urban/non-ag friends, imagine Charlotte's Web). My plan is to enter several entries.

There is a special contest withing the canning category.

I will be entering Blueberry Orange Preserves (with a dash of hooch). I am in the process of tweaking this recipe because my taste-testers think it is too tart. And that will not do, I am aiming for a ribbon here people!

The second entry...

Pickled Beets. I am not a lover of beets. In fact, I am not even a liker of beets, but my trusted tasters assure me that these are tangy and into the contest they'll go.

Last but not least, what's a NJ State Fair without a tomato. My contribution...

Marinara Fra Diavolo. Right now these are just some locally grown tomatoes I bought at Montclair's Farmer's Market. But when the sun to goes down and the heat let's up, they will be magically transformed. I am slightly modifying a recipe I canned last fall and gave as Christmas 2007 gifts. I like spicy things and so a Fra Diavolo is right up my alley.

I received a few surprises in my organic food co-op today so I may decide on an additional entry before Monday's deadline. A taste testing will commence at MY SnB in next week. I'll keep you posted. ~ksp

*The moral to this story. Lesson 1: ADHD survives well into adult hood. Lesson 2: Teach younger folks (your children,nieces, nephews, neighbors) your hobbies. You never know.


Ina said...

I am PSYCHED! State Fair, here I come!

Kim said...

Awesome!!! This week's SnB is not to be missed if you 're bringing stuff for taste testing. I used to do lots of canning and kinda miss it. Love your orange knee socks with your Brownie uniform.

yetunde said...

beets are good for you. girl i love beets. put some salt on those things and i am good to go. ( i am not suppose to have salt, but don't tell anyone.)