Saturday, August 14, 2010

OC fair 2010: joy, tears, and lessons learned for next year

The OC  Fair ends this weekend and before we left for 127 yard sale, we went to see how some of my entries in preserves turned out.
I was a little nervous.  I didn't get to prepare the way i wanted to-Patchwork got the best of me and I had very little time to make anything. Fortunately, I had most of the items i submitted still left over from sales, so i managed to just barely turn in my items (missed 2 entries though).

We decided to take an evening with our friends Adriana from Anarchy in the Garden and her hubs Hector and partake in some fair.  I was lucky that friends saw my outcome before i could go, so most of the butterflies where gone by the time we got to the tent. Big note on displays: OC Fair stepped it up this year-no white boring room with ugly white displays...lots of decor and interest...looked pretty sweet and in the small corner you could see my 2 little jars of Basil and Habanero Jelly with their tiny awards!  BIG shout out to Melanie Harvey who got mucho praises and awards on her beef jerky-STUD!

(a frosty margie next to my prized jellies)

(part of the "much better" display for preserves, can they work on the fair logo now??)

As i become older, i have done less of the "up-side down- make you dizzy and have a headache" rides (plus they always seem like the screws are almost ready to pop out!) and more of the things that i used to think were boring.
Over the years, i have come to enjoy the photography exhibits.  There is so much local talent out there, maybe one of these days i will have the nerve to put something in-there is definitely A LOT more competition in this field than the preserves!

(this was my Best of Show photo)

We happened to go on one of the smaller roller coasters though, something pretty tame for us oldies-but-goodies. Our thrill-seeking days were mostly spent on the ground, shaking our heads in how sick we would get if we were on them.

(just watched from below-i am a little afraid of heights-OK a lot!)

One of my favorite places at the fair is the farm animal section-of course we did the petting area and saw a number of cute babies.  My faves were the 2 week-old pigs that were hiding under their mama's warm belly-one hidden under the straw too!

(LOVE the petting section)

Part of what the fair is most known for is the the various fried foods that are only available at the fair (and thank goodness!).  The Heart Attack Cafe had popular items like deep-fried oreos, veggies and even a stick of butter (heard it was nast-surprising no??)  We ended up sharing fresh tater chips and fried mozzarella-which was awesome because of the marinara sauce, spanakopita, chili fries and of course a few margies (not a fair without).  All was pretty decent, but i would love to see a vegan/strong vegetarian  presence at the fair-i think they would kill it!

(Heart Attack Cafe had deep-fried butter!)

We happened to spend a good amount of time at the garden/ag area as well, the garden section was really given a face-lift this year and there were rows upon rows of veggies on display-very impressive.  One of my favorite groups, the Rare Fruit Growers of Orange County where also present with what seemed like 30 types of avocados...i am seriously wanting to hang with this crowd!
Adriana, a Master Gardener, found her peeps the OC MFP's and had some chat time, but alas no one even heard of the Master Food Preserver Program...maybe in 10 years we can have a presence at the fair.
I did manage to talk to some of the gardeners about doing a class with them in the future and registering for the MFG program in 2011.

(cutie-pie pigglies)

Now that i have actually gone through the process of submitting entries to the fair, i am a little less scared. some ideas for next year:
- preserves: peach-hab jam, pluot preserves, squash pickles and a hot relish
- heat: i am going to expand on the hab jelly success and work on another pepper jelly
- dried: kale or collard chips
- jellies: i have 2 unusual ideas that i am working on, i should have them for sale during the holiday shows.
-veggies or fruits: the fair does weekly judging on ag products, even if you don't win, you receive free entry with the submission, Adriana and I already talked about doing this for next year-i love this as a fun project to do together!
...and if i am lucky, maybe a photo!


Anonymous said...

We have huge black kale plants right now and my boyfriend started making the chips...SO FREAKN EASY!!! I think he should submit his pickles next year, and maybe I will submit my pickled green beans...its. a shame to waste um, so yummy in my home made bloody marys!
Xoxo, april

delilah said...

do it!! i love me some pickled green beans with a snazzy cocktail!

Lea said...

Hi Delilah - I agree with you that they snazzed up the displays - made the entries much more appealing! Congrats on your awards, too!
I've always toyed with the notion of submitting something, but have cold feet.
Also... I agree with you that it would be great to have some MFP reps there. It would do wonders for expanding the program. Many of us have never heard of it before - till meeting you or other MFP's. (I am enrolling in the program for 2011! hooray!!!) I hear they are looking to have an OC program in 2012.
Enjoyed your 127 Yard Sale blog - fun times! Welcome home.