Sweet Madness: County Fair Prep Frenzy

2011 marin county fair graphic bannerEagerly anticipating this year’s county fairs! Have already signed up to enter several unusual jams & jellies in the 2011 Marin County Fair…with fingers crossed & high hopes the judges will like them. I’ve decided to participate in our local 2011 Sonoma County Fair as well, though haven’t any idea what the competition’s like.

cynthe brush holding prize winning best of show honey rose petal jam and ribbons
The official 2010 Marin County Fair ‘Best of Show’ winner portrait with my ribbon and Honey Rose Petal Jam

Playful and fun-loving, I’m always up for a good-natured challenge. The preserved food competitions get my creative juices flowing! Suppose some folks take these shows really seriously. The prizes are so modest, being TOO serious about them would ruin the fun for me. But don’t misunderstand, I’m totally committed to doing my best: making incredible, unusual conserves, jams and jellies that make your eyes roll with a big WOW! on first taste.

Started cooking last summer, right after winning ‘Best of Show’ (Numero UNO of all the Preserved Food categories) for my Honey Rose Petal Jam at the 2010 Marin County Fair. Nothing like starting at the top and setting the stakes high for myself THIS year!!!

Have a ‘fruit’ butter, 2 conserves, a jam, 2 jellies, and a rose infused dessert sauce made…with ideas for more. (All recipes will eventually be posted on FWB.) Want to get one more rose jelly made before springtime’s peak bloom season is over. Only my huge Eva (hybrid musk) rose bush is still covered with 100s of blooms.

Here are my 2011 Marin County Fair entry RESULTS:
~ Plum Gumbo (a conserve)
1st Place Blue Ribbon
, Mixed Fruit Conserve

~ Rhubarb Raisin & Citrus Ginger Conserve (which I made today)
2nd Place Red Ribbon in the Conserves, any other, category

~ Sweet Lemony Zucchini Creme (a ‘fruit’ butter)
2nd Place Red Ribbon in Fruit Butters, any other, category

~ Strawberry-Rose Dessert Sauce
2nd Place Red Ribbon in Strawberries, any other, category

~ Tomato-Orange Jam
3rd Place White Ribbon in Mixed Fruit Jams

~ Rose Geranium Apple Jelly:
4th Place Pink Ribbon in Jelly, any other, category

*   *   *   *   *
2011
~ 75th Anniversary ~ Sonoma County Fair
Here are my first year entry RESULTS:

~ Sweet Lemony Zucchini Creme (a ‘fruit’ butter): 1st Place Blue Ribbon ‘Soft Spread’ sponsored by Ball in the Marmalade, Butters, Conserves category (any other Butter).

~ Rhubarb Raisin & Citrus Ginger Conserve: 3rd Place White Ribbon

~ Meyer Lemon & Honey Jelly: The set was a little soft (ie. watery) so I’m not surprised it didn’t ribbon in the top three. And because the whole lemon is used to make this jelly, there’s a slight ‘marmalade-like bitterness’ the judge wasn’t prepared for. It’s a lovely sophisticated jelly and I thought it was worth a shot.

These ideas will have to wait for next year’s fairs.
~ Chai Surprise Dessert Drizzle (did make these very unusual sophisticated sauce. YUM!)
But the fair rules require two 1 pint containers for each entry, a ridiculously large amount for a dessert sauce! I’ve decided to wait to enter this in Marin’s 2012 Fair competition.
~ Rose Delight Jelly
The spring bloom flush escaped before I had time to create this jelly. Am going to deadhead my huge ‘Eva’ hybrid Musk Rose, hoping to make the jelly this September.

5 thoughts on “Sweet Madness: County Fair Prep Frenzy”

  1. Thank you for your lovely blog and beautiful pictures and recipes. And the great suggestions you posted on my blog. Adagio

  2. Berideen ~ You are SO sweet to leave such encouraging comments. Your kindness is most appreciated!!

    I will have to cook more rhubarb with less sugar while it’s still in season. Do LOVE the flavor and the tart/sweet contrast.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Adagio. An enthused discerning audience inspires me to hone both the recipes & presentation…and meeting new readers is a treat!

  4. Hey There, Cynthe: Congratulations on your ribbons! I’ve got a proposition for you: Wanna meet and trade a jar or two of something at pickup on Tuesday? You got my email with this comment, so let me know if you want to try to coordinate. 🙂

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