Friday 7 August
It is hard to believe that we haven't entered, or even attended, the Hamilton County Fair since 2007. But we were busy commuting to and from Canada or England or Israel, for instance. And now that we have had a whole summer to grow vegetables, and air conditioning to bake bread in August without melting into a puddle of sweat, we decided to break our fair fast.
The fair has definitely changed in those eight years. The local 4-H pulled up stakes and left for Stricker's Grove, meaning no livestock judging, and avian flu, or fear of it, has struck, meaning no fancy chickens. But there were still hokey magicians, jugglers, milk-a-cow displays, a petting zoo, daredevil aerialists, pig, goat, and donkey races, and a midway full of rides and fast fair food.
For our fair-to-middlin' dinner, we chose the one booth that boasted that all its food was fresh-fried to order (indeed it was, as it took 20 minutes to get anything), for a double pork tenderloin sandwich and an order of fried green tomatoes. Two cans of Bud and the Pickle Brothers' sideshow helped wash it all down.
And now (drumroll, please): THE PRIZES!
Barbara won a first-prize blue ribbon for antiques (the Casas Grandes pot that Harold gave us), and got second prize in the hotly-contested green bean category, for her Garden of Eden Romanos (at right on table); second prize for her Red Russian Kale (near her, behind pumpkin); and a big blue ribbon for her stunning purple Carminat pole beans (at left on table).
Her banh-mi carrot and daikon relish only got a third prize, but that was a category where Holt swept the field. His Parker's Perfect Pickles finally took the blue ribbon in sweet pickles; and his corn relish, made with local bicolor corn and fresh heirloom tomatoes, not only won blue but the coveted BEST IN SHOW rosette!
His pane Pugliese got a blue ribbon in the hotly-contested white bread category, and his wreath of green pesto and red sundried-tomato bread (seen here both in unbaked and baked shape) got another in the open class. His classic Indiana Melon Soup was again first in cold soups, and his granola, whose recipe has appeared in these very webpages, not only got him a blue ribbon but another BEST IN SHOW rosette!
We are so pleased with the ribbons that we will add to the festoon on our fridge; and we're looking for a way to display the best in show rosettes, without looking like we're boasting (which we so are).