Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Garden produce show

French Village Diaries Garden Club Show potager orchard vegetable gardening
Ready for the garden show
Yesterday, with a little trepidation, I took part in my first ever garden produce show, organised by the local gardening club I joined last year. As I am now on the committee I found myself taking an active part in organising it, despite my lack of experience, which was a little daunting. My main role was to drum up enthusiasm and ensure as many members as possible felt comfortable entering something. We are only a small club and our show was very much run for a fun afternoon, (we are a long way off being an RHS event like Chelsea) and as there were plenty of entries and lots of laughter, I think we succeeded.

Despite the fun, relaxed atmosphere I was promoting I don’t mind admitting that in the days leading up to it I was a little nervous. I was really hoping my vegetable garden wouldn’t let me down at the last minute as having a set of three identical sized, not too big, not too small, of each fruit or vegetable to be entered, that are ready to pick on the day isn’t as easy as it sounds. I was a little disappointed with the courgettes and beetroots, but entered them anyway, however the plums, chillies, yellow patissons and onions were looking tip top, or so I thought until I added them to the groaning vegetable produce table. The judges were kind enough to give my pretty patissons the second prize (there were some very nice and shiny red onions that won), which I was very pleased with.



French Village Diaries Garden Club Show potager orchard vegetable gardening
Second place patissons
I had saved a couple of jars of 2014 chutney and one of relish to enter and here I was very nervous. I know my family; especially my mother and father-in-law love my chutneys, but what if the judges didn’t? I’ve a bit of a reputation for chutney making, especially courgette chutney so this category was a real test. Alas, the winner of this category wasn’t one of mine, but again I was awarded the second place for my courgette and windfall apple and pear chutney with piment d’Espelette, phew!



French Village Diaries Garden Club Show potager orchard vegetable gardening chutney
Second place chutney
I also baked a cake, a recipe I have used many times, but still found myself checking and rechecking my measurements and method, as well as fretting while it cooked. Would it sink? Would the almond flavour come out? Would the windfall pears cook enough, but not too much? Yet again I was piped to the first post (by a delicious lemon drizzle cake) but I was very happy to be awarded (another) second place prize.


French Village Diaries Garden Club Show potager orchard vegetable gardening cake
Second place pear cake
The final category I entered was the handicrafts with a bit of a blast from the past, a cross-stitch sampler I completed in 1991 and has been hung on various different walls since then. This time there was no first or second place for me here, but I did get third place and I think three seconds and one third for my eleven entries in five categories, in my first show was respectable enough and gives me room for improvement next year.


French Village Diaries Garden Club Show potager orchard vegetable gardening cross-stitch sampler
Third place cross-stitch sampler