Do's and Dont's for Exhibitors
20th Aug 1997
We are now probably right in the middle of showing and many of us will be travelling up and down the country to exhibit our vegetables. These will be specimens that we have literally spent hours of tender loving care over so that they could be shown at their optimum of freshness and quality. Why therefore do some growers simply not take enough care at show time so that in tight situations they loose points because of a very simple fault that need not have happened.
I append below a list of do's and don'ts that every exhibitor should try and stick to.
Do arrive at the show in plenty of time so that you are nor rushed, rushing to stage will always leave you at risk of making errors. Do select your vegetables at home so that you know exactly which ones go where within the dish.
Do take your entrance pass with you, it's no use arriving there to find you can"t get in.
Do take your small box of tricks with you, the items contained will depend to a certain extent on how many classes you enter, but if you are to stage in collections then you will need a container of some description to carry the various bits and bobs that you always seem to need.
Do have your entry cards and variety cards with you and don't forget to leave them on the exhibit face down, the stewards will turn them the right way after judging has been completed.
Do have your vegetables packed properly, damage during transit can often be fatal and destroy what could have been a winning dish. It often takes longer than you realise to pack them properly so again leave yourself plenty of leeway.
Do read the schedule thoroughly after you have packed everything in the car so that you can run through them in your mind over a cup of tea. What did you put in?, did you remember the onion stand?, did you place the black cloth and drawing pins in? what did I do with that small sprayer and sponge? did you put the parsley in? It's no point worrying after you arrive at the show.
Do use small stalk ends of both carrots, parsnips and long beet to help stage your exhibit properly. these can be used as small indiscreet wedges on the outside of the entry so that you can stage your exhibit for best effect.
Don't stage your onions with talcum powder left on them, make sure if you have used any such aids that they are all wiped off prior to judging. Make sure that the stand you use with your onions is not too high, some shows stipulate a maximum height level.
Don't stage your entry in the wrong class, believe me it does happen, and it does cause a problem for the organisers, particularly when they can't find the exhibitor; look at your schedule and check the class number.
Don't start arguing after judging, I know it's very hard at times when the judge has perhaps made a mistake in your mind, ask the secretary if you can have a quite word with the him, you will certainly feel a lot better if he gives you a valid reason for his decision.
Don't handle other peoples exhibits, some exhibitors seem to think that the notices "do not handle" is for the benefit of the public and not for them; they are for everyone.
Don't leave the stalks too long on your root vegetables, most schedules will state that the stalks of Carrots, parsnips and long beet etc. should have their tops trimmed to approximately 3". You only need one finicky judge and your exhibit could be awarded the undesirous N.A.S. card (Not According to Schedule), believe me it has happened on a grand scale in the past.
Don't be rough and in a hurry when re packing the exhibits that you may need for a further show such as your onions and shallots, take as much care in packing them to take home as you did in bringing them. After you arrive home, remove them from their boxes, untie the raffia from the necks and careful insert a fine knitting needle into the neck to allow the onion to breath before re tying again at a future date.
The above is only part of what you ought to be considering at show time and the best piece of advice I can give you is one my son gave to me, he was taught by the army to always remember the six "P's", "Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.