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The following tips should, hopefully make showing easier and more productive, they are however not exhaustive and the exhibitor is recommended to ask for help from the Show Secretary or one of their fellow competitors who are always willing to give advice. Always leave yourself enough time.

General Tips
  • The major piece of advice has to be to read the schedule as judges never like to mark an entry NAS (Not As Schedule) so always ensure that the stated number of items are placed on the bench and that they are in the correct class.

  • All items should be clean and free from major blemishes but do not polish items such as apples. Exhibits should be tidy and displayed in an attractive manner. Where exhibits are of an equal calibre the judge will award 1st prize to the one that is better displayed.

  • Individual items should wherever possible be of equal size and shape. Unless stated vegetable exhibits should normally be of the same variety.

  • Onions & shallots - skins should be dried off to an even tone, loose damaged skins should be removed but do not skin too far down so that white skin shows. Onions are best shown on rings (easily made from cardboard tubes) and shallots in containers filled with fine sand or peat. For pickling shallots ensure that they are not over sized.

  • Carrots/beetroot/parsnip - roots should be washed and free from hair roots which should be removed. Unless stated it is normally good practice to remove leaves but leave about 3" of stalk which should be tied with raffia or string. Beetroot should be approx. cricket ball size.

  • Potatoes - Ensure that eyes are not too deep and that there are no scab markes or holes.

  • Lettuce - leave roots on but pack in damp tissue paper covered in a plastic bag.

  • Cabbage - leave at least 3" of stalk on the exhibit.

  • Beans - should be long straight and fresh with no outward sign of seed.

  • Courgettes - young, tender, 4"-6" long and where possible leave the flowers attached.

  • Cucumbers - fairly young, straight and of uniform thickness, flower attached.

  • Garlic - round, well ripened with thin necks, must not be divided into single cloves.

  • Herbs - fresh, healthy with no flowers or buds ahowing.

  • Peas - large fresh pods with bloom intact, no damage, well filled (check by holding to light).

  • Tomatoes - approx 2 1/2" in diameter richly coloured with calyx attached and fresh.

  • Choose vases to suit the height of the stems. Flowers and foliage should all be clean and free from disease or insect damage.

  • Roses - should be 3/4 open with a firm pointed centre. The condition of the guard petals should be ignored by the judge and can if necessary be removed, do not remove any further petals.

  • Sweet Peas - should if possible show 4 flowers per stem with long straight stems. Everlasting sweet peas are not allowed in this class.

  • Pot plant foliage - no flowers or buds showing, shape should be even, leaves to be clean and show no blemishes.

  • Pot plant flowering - floriferous with an even distribution of flowers and buds, dead flowers, seed pods etc. must be removed, leaves to be clean and free from damage.

  • Stalks must always be left on kinds such as apples and raspberries.

  • Gooseberries - large ripe or unripe fruits, unblemished, leave stalks on.

  • Currents - strigs with full complement of berries, uniform colour.

  • Bread - well risen and evenly baked, no shaping cracks or cooling rack marks. Internal texture light and even with no holes or streaks Wholemeal will be less risen and closer in texture than white.

  • Scones - even in shape, size and colour (suitable size 506cms (2-2 1/2")) - almost as tall as round. Texture firm and spongy.

  • Plain scones should be cut with a plain cutter. No glaze, may be dusted with flour before cooking.

  • Fruit scones should be cut with a fluted cutter. No glaze, may be dusted with flour before cooking.

  • Cheese scones should be cut with a plain cutter. Glaze with milk or egg, sprinkle with cheese.

  • Gingerbread - if schedule states pieces, these should be cut from centre of slab and be uniform in size. Tops should be flat, glossy and evenly baked. Texture fairly open, spongy, but moist.

  • Victoria sandwich - top should be flat without air bubbles and free from cooling rack marks. Both halves same thickness. Fill with raspberry jam and light sprinkling of caster suger on top.

  • Quiche - pastry even at edges, not too thick. Use plain sided quiche/flan tin, or ring on baking sheet. (To ensure thorough baking of base, avoid using glass or ceramic which are not good conductors of heat.)

  • Jam tarts - identical in size and shape. Use same jam unless schedule states "as-sorted". Jam level smooth.

  • American muffins - baked in deep tins or paper cases. Minimum depth 4cm (1 1/2"). Should be peaked with springy texture

  • Cakes (general points) - well risen, even in shape and baking. Any fruit evenly distributed. Domed top with slight cracking acceptable for light fruit cakes. No cooling rack marks.

  • Cookies - rolled in the hands or sliced from a roll, not too large.

  • Biscuits - rolled, cut and uniform in size using approx. 5-6cms (2-2 1/2") cutter, (fluted for sweet biscuits, plain for savoury).

  • Sausage rolls - uniform in size and colour. Approx. 5-6cms (2-2 1/2") long. Join underneath using shortcrust pastry and to the side for flaky pastry.

  • Preserves - use clear jars, free from commercial trade marks and unmarked lids. All preserves should be labelled with small labels stating main fruit used, day, month and year of making.

  • Jams, jellies and marmalade - fill to brim to allow for shrinkage. Use well fitting wax disc and cellophane, or new twist top (no wax disc).

  • Lemon curd - use wax disc and cellophane.

  • Chutney - must have 1/2" head space between contents and lid and be covered with a new solid vinegar proof top, i.e. plastic lined twist top, and be a minimum of two months old. (Twist tops available from from all W.I markets and branches of well-known hardware stores).

  • Cordial - use clear glass bottle with screw top. Head space should be 12-25mm (1/2-1"). (Not diluted).

  • Wine - clear glass with re-sealable stopper. filled within 12mm (1/2") of base of cork. Label should state type of wine. year of making and indicate sweetness.

  • Natural Plant Material is any vegetable matter. It includes fresh, dried, garden, wild or made-up plant material, flowers, foliage, fruit, vegetable and seaweed. All may be additionally coloured.

  • Staging an exhibit on a suitable base, if using an accessory would complement the overall design. Definition of a base: Staging on which part or all of an exhibit is displayed

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All rights reserved - design by Ch. Pratt
Last update: 11.01.2006