FigsWithBri is THREE!

Figs With Bri blog 3 years old today graphic

The day’s almost over and I’m just getting to this post now…

Have been thinking about a proper way to acknowledge this SPECIAL anniversary for a couple of months. Wanted to do a week of posts ~ certainly have enough interesting foods to write about and lots of photos ~ but not enough time to match my enthusiasm! Do you struggle with that, too?

Fireworks are much better than ‘birthday candles’ don’t you think?!!! Fourth of July at the 2010 Marin County Fair gave us a reason to celebrate early. As you may know, I decided to enter two handcrafted jams….technically a ‘preserve’ and a ‘conserve’….and they BOTH won first place blue ribbons in their classes! WOW!

2010 Marin County Fair 'Going Global, Connecting Cultures' Banner
2010 Marin County Fair ‘Going Global, Connecting Cultures’ Banner

It’s been decades since I’ve entered any items in a county fair. The last time was in the early ’80s…the Nevada County Fair held in Grass Valley, California, a Sierra foothills small town. (BTW, 2010 Nevada County Fair starts next week. Check out the link if you’re within driving distance for some foothills country fun.)

Photo of Strawberry-Orange-Ginger Conserve ~ 2010 Marin County Fair Blue Ribbon Winner
Strawberry-Orange-Ginger Conserve ~ 2010 Marin County Fair Blue Ribbon Winner

Learned all about the differences between jellies, jams, preserves, and conserves as I prepared for this year’s fair competition. If you’re curious and not sure about those distinctions, read more in our Strawberry-Orange-Ginger Conserve post.

And if you have ANY inclination to try your hand at homemade jams and county fair competition, read Shae’s wonderful article on her blue ribbon winning jams and jam-making passion with great fair competition tips. Shae jotted me a note on FWB last month and we’re going to get together one of these weekends soon to share our jams and exchange ideas. My first jammer buddy, YAY!

Bill and I took off a bit early on Friday (July 2nd) to check out the Fair. Arrived around 6pm and headed for the demonstration kitchen where all the food entries were on display. I hadn’t been there before, so was glancing over the shelves of displays, curious to see what we would find, watching a chef set up for her demo, and noticing others coming to look at the entries, too. Reading the signs announcing the award winners, all of a sudden, realized that was MY name I was reading on the Best-of-Show Preserves notice!

Cynthe Brush of FigsWithBri delighted with her 2010 Marin County Best-of-Show Win!
Surprised? You bet. Didn’t imagine my Honey Rose Preserves would be awarded Best-of-Show!
Photo of Honey Rose Petal Jam, 2010 Marin County Fair Best of Show winner
Honey Rose Petal Jam ~ 2010 Marin County Fair Best-of-Show Preserves Winner!
2010 Marin County Fair Best-of-Show sticker on winning preserves jar
2010 Marin County Fair Best-of-Show sticker on Cynthe’s winning preserves

And I wasn’t the only surprised winner that afternoon. Standing right in front of us were two VERY excited ladies, Catherine Hughes and her cousin, Ellin Purdom, who were thrilled to find blue ribbons on Catherine’s amazing handmade confections: ‘Toffee Talk’ and ‘Crumble Mumble, Little Pieces of Conversation.’ Check out the link if you love “to die for” toffee-chocolaty-nutty goodness. (You can find them on Facebook, too.)

I don’t have the whole story of what prompted Catherine to wander around the corner to the aisle end display, but there she discovered her toffee had won Best-of-Show Confectionery, starring as one of the feature items in the charmingly creative display. She and Ellin were all smiles!

2010 Marin County Fair ~ Toffee Talk, Best-of-Show Confectionary Winner!
Ellin Purdom with Catherine Hughes of Toffee Talk celebrating their BIG win!
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Toffee Talk, Best-of-Show Confectionary Winner!
Catherine Hughes of Toffee Talk ~ Best of Show Confectionery Winner!
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Toffee Talk, Best-of-Show Confectionery Winner!
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Toffee Talk, Best-of-Show Confectionery Winner!

Though surprised, Catherine had come prepared….with samples to share. She generously gave us two bags of Toffee Talk and a jar of Crumble Mumble and I took photos for her to post on Toffee Talk’s Facebook page.

I, of course, wasn’t thinking marketing or of gathering up goodies and didn’t even have a purse or pocket to put stuff in. So, when Bill and I went to buy Greek Veggie Wraps for dinner,  I begged a plastic bag from the vendor in exchange for one of Catherine’s toffee gifts. What a deal….for the vendor! Bill and I hadn’t tasted the toffee, yet, and had no idea how incredible it was. To appreciate my rave review, you need to understand I’m not a candy eater…and can pass most candies by, no problem.

Had a sweet chat with the food vendor about roses & my winning preserves. He didn’t know roses were edible or much about roses at all. Turns out he had just planted his first rose as a memorial for his dog who died recently. I mentioned I, too, had planted a beautiful dark rose a few years ago as a memorial for our beloved black cat ‘Mufassa’ who died in 2006.

Bill and I went to see the fabulous art show, which unfortunately doesn’t permit photographs, so I can’t share the top notch quality of the work, and then caught the last half of the thought-provoking film festival. By then it was dark and almost time for the nightly fireworks display.

2010 Marin County ~ after dark caravanserai photo
2010 Marin County ~ After dark Caravanserai fun

Took time to try a few hand-held night shots of the festive caravanserai atmosphere with shoppers faces splashed with light and vendors engaged in sales. Used Bill’s shoulder as a steadying prop since, traveling light, I hadn’t brought a tripod along.

Waiting for the fireworks display at the 2010 Marin County Fair
2010 Marin County Fair ~ waiting for the fireworks display over the lake

Fireworks at the Marin County Fair are always a treat. The fair’s well funded (explosive displays for those shows cost a pretty penny) and dramatic fireworks released over the lake a few yards from the watching crowds are not to be missed, if you’re anywhere in the vicinity. I was quite pleased with the impromptu shots I got, not the usual fireworks fare. Hope you enjoy them too.

2010 Marin County Fair ~ Green & orange fireworks
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Green & orange fireworks
2010 Marin County Fair Fireworks~ where there's fire there's smoke!
2010 Marin County Fair Fireworks~ where there’s fire there’s smoke!
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Red streamer fireworks
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Red streamer fireworks
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Red drama fireworks
2010 Marin County Fair ~ Red drama fireworks

Tah, dah!!! Looking forward to seeing what this next year brings. And am already cooking up batches of unusual jams and such for next year’s fair….

14 thoughts on “FigsWithBri is THREE!”

  1. Congragulations. I am sure Bri will be smiling where ever she is but the thought of her wonderful blog beeing 3.
    In france the rose petal jam is really famous, few mionths back n went to this french ladies home and she had made these delicous marmalde from roses.

  2. What a charming article, in honor of the Third. Winning a prize is a great way to celebrate a birthday. It’s also so nice to have a place where “strangers” have a chance at recognition, that’s it’s not all about who you know.
    Love the night shots. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to take beautiful night shots without a flash?

  3. Hi! Happy ~ Delighted you stopped by and are our first commenter.

    Rose preserves are unusual here in the USA, at least as commercial products. Interesting idea, Rose Marmalade! Any chance you could get the recipe for me? I had a bit of the rose jam left over (not enough for a jar) and added the cooked lemon rind I had used for natural pectin to it…totally delicious. Rose and orange would be wonderful…thanks for the inspiration. My big rose bush is already in bloom again.

  4. Thanks! Victoria ~ Delighted you enjoyed this post. Had intended to write it right after the fair, but it works as a celebration for sure. Catherine (of Toffee Talk), Bill and I kept running into each other as if there were a magnetic attraction: discovering our winnings and again when we went to pick up our entries, after the fair closed. Was uncanny. And fun. Am planning to order some of her toffee’s for Dad and Mom ~ they’ll LOVE it.

    The other cool thing was Catherine, Shae, and I were all first time fair food entry participants. And we all came home with multiple blue ribbons!

    Got to meet Stephanie (think that was her name?) Barboni, sister to the fair entry manager, Charlie Barboni, and Stephanie’s sweet teenage (20’s something??) daughter as they were taking down the displays. Stephanie insisted on taking my photo as one of the prize-winners (I wasn’t exactly dolled up for the occasion). They like to include those photos in the next year’s program guide….so, of course, I HAVE to participate again next year.

    Yes, LOVE taking night shots w/o flash. Experimented with various settings to get the right look. Carnival night lights are so appealing.

  5. Beautiful! Bri’s spirit lives on through your generosity in keeping Figs with Bri going!
    Best in Show! What a WOMAN!!!

  6. Thanks! Sweet Kate ~ Your compliments count for a LOT in my book.

    And, yes, FWB is a special gift from our beloved Brizy… It’s an honor to keep it going. A great learning experience, too.

  7. Well done Cynthe and Congratulations. Bri must be smiling and so proud of you. Keeping the blog going is one of the best memorials I have ever seen. All the very best.
    Maureen x

  8. Thanks for stopping by! Maureen ~ Appreciate your kind words. Bri’s often on my mind, especially when I cook foods she loved.

    Wish I had more time to browse the food bloggers world….with WONDERFUL folks like yourself….and make even more friends. Perhaps that’s a good goal for FWB’s 4th year.

  9. Happy Anniversary to Figs with Bri! She is smiling big right now! Congrats on Best in Show! YOU ROCK!

  10. Hi! Kristen ~ Yeah, just couldn’t let this ‘anni’ pass by without some acknowledgment to the milestone. Thanks for the congrats. We were SO surprised!

    Bri’s being is spreading her sparkly enthusiasm all over I’m sure. Still find myself surprised – in a good way – doing the FWB blog.

  11. I was thinking of Bri today and dropped by to say hello and read the wonderful post. Congratulations Cynthe! I am sure Bri us proud of you

  12. Thanks! Shankari ~ I was REALLY surprised. Think Bri would have had fun participating in a county fair competition. Maybe she enchanted the judges? Definitely think of her all the time being involved with FWB. And it’s been a stimulus to polish up my culinary skills….what I need now is an eating audience.

  13. Hi! I’m new to your website. Absolutely love it! I’m noticing the dates on the comments. Have you kept up with this site? If not, I’ll have fun looking at what was done. But if so, even more fun to keep me going. Thank you for it all!

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