Entering Food at an agricultural show

January 14, 2013 at 11:49 am 2 comments

Again I say I am definitely no expert.  This is just what I learnt on the weekend and I have more to learn.  I should have put the cooking first as that was the exhibits we did first.

One thing I taught a friend on the weekend was the difference between entries and exhibits.  Entries are the entry form you fill out and give to the show office so they know which categories you are in. exhibits are the actual items.  So this week our entries were due by Thursday but our food exhibits were due before 11 on the Friday and flowers were due before 830 on the Saturday.

We were given perforated stickers, the small left hand side with our entry numbers were to go on the exhibit, we kept the larger part for identification at the end of the show.  Of course I didn’t find this out til Thursday morning so I was trying to juggle plates of food and the stickers.  Thankfully a friend had come to help.  The official notice said use cellophane to wrap the food as plastic makes it sweat.  I had just got the cellophane wrapped because I didn’t know what to do with the stickers.  When we picked up our exhibits they were in plastic bags with freezer ties wrapped around them.  Probably put on after the judging?  Next year I will know what to do with the stickers so I can have a twist tie to make them easier to transport.  The stickers were supposed to go on the right side at the front, so the judges would know what was the front.

We were in the junior cooking section 12 years and under.

Alexander made pikelets for the first time.  I was trying to help him make them round so we used egg rings but they were too large.  Found out afterwards they should be petite.  I think the other problem was we were using an electric fry pan and the heat is not constant, perhaps we should have used the gas cooktop ?  I was nervous enough with him around the frypan let alone the stove so not sure about that one.


Alexander practising pikelets for next year

pikelet making

Both kids entered the six arrowroot biscuits, iced and decorated, 7 years and under. (this is the only cooking one where it was divided into two age groups – perhaps because they have so many entries)  Emily came 1st!  Unfortunately Alexander didn’t place with a 1st, 2nd or Highly commended.  This is a difficult one to find out how you can improve.  I was asking the steward and she was saying it is the judges personal opinion and can differ year to year with judge to judge.  I think they were looking for creativity and difference, not all the biscuits decorated the same.

sprinkling milk arrowroot biscuits decorating milk arrowroots My milk arrowroot

Prize winning biscuits Albion Park Show 011Ooops I don’t have a photo of Alexander’s finished work – his consisted of 4 faces (albeit using different lollies but still faces) and 1 castle and 1 garden that didn’t really look like a garden (similar to Emily’s with the candy cane).  I decorated one biscuit towards the end (my little man see above) but I let the children decorate how they wanted to.  Trying to make sure it was their work and not a parents. 😉 To make life easy I bought royal icing from the shops which needs just water added to it.  I then divided it into two bowls and the kids stirred in the colouring.

The next was 6 muffins, packet mix.  Unfortunately I overcooked Alexander’s, had the temperature up too high.  The kids did a good job mixing it up themselves and greasing the muffin pan and spooning the mixture in.  Emily’s we were running late with and I had to take it out of the oven and put it straight into the car and let it cool on the way.  She received a highly commended – perhaps because they were still warm and fresh?

Muffins - packet Alexander's packet muffins

The last entry was for Four Decorated Cup Cakes.  Emily received a second.  When I saw the other entries I wondered if they were all supposed to look the same or all look different.  The kids had made the cup cake mixture themselves, excited about cracking the eggs and beating up the mixture and spooning it in.  I realised later they are judging on the decoration and not the cake and we could perhaps have done a packet mix for them. Now I know for next year…. When they are in the 6 patty cakes, iced but not decorated I think they are looking at the cake and it has to be from scratch but while they are young, to make it easy on myself I will buy packet cake mix for the kids to make.  I made cream cheese icing but I think next year we will use royal just like the biscuits.  It was so humid when we were making it that the icing was too runny, I probably needed to compensate for the heat with more icing.  I was trying to teach the kids to pipe but because it wasn’t holding but melting we ended up just spreading it with a knife.  The kids had free reign again with decorating.  I had bought Emily some cup cake silicon holders in the shape of a teacup.  They came with saucers but there was not enough room on the plate for them.  (we were told to provide our own cardboard paper plates).  Probably the casing is what helped her win second prize.

Emily's cupcakes CupcakesThese are Alexander’s and Emily’s together.  Hers are the larger pink ones, he had the smaller lavender ones.

There were two other categories we didn’t enter.  One was a novelty butter cake, decorated with soft icing, birthday theme.  That would use too much supplies and effort to get my kids to make and decorate two different cakes.  If we did that I would probably just make one for the adult section.  The other category was decorated gingerbread men, 2.  I don’t have a large enough gingerbread man cutter.  Here is the winner from this year.

Albion Park Show 022I planned on entering 6 muffins and banana cake, iced.  Unfortunately I wasn’t sure if it should be a round cake or could be in a square pan or rectangle.  It also was a hot day and I am not sure what else went wrong (Planets not aligned?) but my fail safe banana cake failed, I used a round tin and it sunk in the middle.  SO I decided not to enter it.  My mother suggested I make my pear and pecan muffins which she has enjoyed in the past and so I did.  I cheated this time, usually I cut up the pear myself but this time I bought pre chopped pear so then I had to guestimate how much pear to put in.  Anyway from what I gather the judge had a hard time choosing between first and second.  Mine were quite large (I cooked them a silicon muffin pan since you couldn’t have them encased in paper) and the ones that came second were smaller than mine.  I don’t think they taste them, so I don’t know how they decide just looking at them.  Anyway when we were looking at the cakes, we were with some people we know – a preschool mother (her son goes to preschool with my two) and her 13 year old daughter who had won junior champion sash because she came 1st in 3 categories.  Anyway I looked at my muffins, there was a 1st prize in front of them but not my name and nothing on top of mine so I was like oh well I didn’t win.  Then I looked to see what the muffins looked like so I know for next time, anyway there was my name on the second place card.  Ooh was I excited I got second!! Then I thought hey but they aren’t my muffins, so the card has fallen onto the wrong lot.  My friend’s mum was a judge and she was like – you have  a blue sticker on your plate, you came first.  So the chief steward came in and my friend argued my case, I didn’t feel I could push too much as in I didn’t want to look like I was saying I should come first.  They worked it out and I received a first place card!

My winning muffins!

The other section we entered in was handicraft.  I was going to enter a novelty article in for the needlework but I didn’t get it completed to my satisfaction so I thought it could wait to next year (turned out there was only one entry in that class!).

Alexander entered in the junior classes – a lego model under 8 yrs, no bigger than A3.  I thought he did quite well for his first time.  He only received his first lego for his birthday last year and for Christmas he received plain lego – ie not a kit so he could design his own.  I made him come up with the design himself.  We had been playing the first week or so together, building together but he did his exhibit by himself.  The day before we took our exhibit up I found some kids were entering kits so Alexander ended up with two entries, one from a kit and one he made himself.

Alexander's lego exhibit The winning entry I was pleased to see was one not from a kit.

Winning lego modelThe second place though was obviously a kit base and then they had got all their minifigs and staged them all over.  Perhaps they got kudos for their staging ability?  SO next year more minifigs!

I entered in the wall hanging, any medium.  You are allowed work that has been completed with the last 2 years so I entered the Noah’s Ark wall hanging I made Emily for her birthday last year which is technically still in complete because not all the animals have been made yet!  There were 2 other entries as well as mine and I managed to place second.


The other sections I debated were scrapbooking and handmade special occasion card… but I didn’t have anything completed and didn’t want to stress myself out making something.

I noticed some areas didn’t have many entries – such as Bear any size (one entry!).

The other area I might keep a thought about for next year is pencil drawing, any subject, 8 years and under, drawing, any subject or medium, primary school student only.

We had lots of fun and we can’t wait til next year.  My only worry is that next year we might be in the new house with no roses to enter!

Entry filed under: Designs.

Tips for entering shows – with flower arranging in saucers and mugs Finished!

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. ridefireflyfarm  |  January 26, 2013 at 7:22 am

    New house?! Are you moving?

    • 2. blackpaws  |  January 26, 2013 at 7:37 am

      Eventually, when we build it.


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