Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Farm City Fair and Blue Ribbon Competition

On September 12th, Bergen Street between Smith Street and Boerum Place in Brooklyn will be turned into a county fair for the day. The Farm City Fair is sponsored by FIAF (French Institute, Alliance Fran├žaise).

I have seen no publicity for this event, but know about it through Christina Kelly, the artist responsible for Maize Field, whom I met through an interview I did with her for the Fall edition of edible Brooklyn (out soon).

Christina came over today to drop off a pork belly from Flying Pigs Farm upstate and a bag of shortnose white corn that she grew in Prospect Park last year, so that I can turn them into an unctuous (I hope) pozole for her stand at the Farm City Fair on Sunday. We will be handing out little tastes to firstcomers.

She also told me about the Blue Ribbon Competition:

Greenthumb is hosting a Harvest Competition. Read the rules for entering vegetables and flowers (also listed below, from their site). Entries must be presented between 10.30am and 12pm on the 12th at the Greenthumb stand near the Invisible Dog Art Center at 51 Bergen Street.

The rules state that the competition is open to NYC Community Gardeners and NYC Roof Gardeners. I have no idea how they check the entrants' bona fides, or why legions of in-ground gardeners seem to have been left out of the mix. So I left a message at Greenthumb and Edie Stone, the Director of Greenthumb wrote back and said: "All gardeners will be competing in the same category."

I take that to mean that if you are a New York City gardener, you are eligible. [This has since been confirmed. If the rules on the site have not been updated, ignore them.]

So if you have a fire escape cherry tomato, rooftop eggplant patch, windowsill basil hedge or back 40 bean tepee, collect your crop, dust it off, make it pretty and bring it on down on Sunday.

I know at least one gardener who could sweep the awards...

My hopes of entering my beautiful roof farm eggplant have been dashed as they must be entered in pairs...Perhaps I'll take it, in case. However the coiled and hefty cucuzza might be a contender for heaviest squash and of course, there are all the cherry tomatoes. It sounds like fun.

Greenthumb Harvest Festival Competition Rules

All entries must be free of soil, spots, cracks, splits, sores, insects, and disease. Entries should be fresh, firm, and mature or ripe. Extra credit will be given for entries specifying variety. Entries will be judged on condition and quality.

A BEANS (bush or pole) 2 pods, 1/2" stems
B CUCUMBERS 3 fruits, 6-8" long
C EGGPL ANTS 2 fruits, 1" stems
D GREENS (collards, kale, chard, etc.) whole stalk
E OKRA 3 pods
F ONIONS 3 bulbs, 2" stems
G PEPPERS (sweet bell) 3 fruits, 1" stems
H PEPPERS (hot) 3 fruits, 1" stems
I PEPPERS (frying) 3 fruits, 1" stems
J SQUASH (summer) 3 fruits, 1" stems
K SQUASH (zucchini) 2 fruits, 8-10" long
L SQUASH (largest by weight) 1 fruit, 2" stem
M SQUASH (largest by length) 1 fruit
N SUNFLOWER (largest) 1 flower
O TOMATO (standard) 3 fruits, no stems
P TOMATO (plum) 5 fruits, no stems
R TOMATO (largest by weight) 1 fruit, no stems
S TOMATO (best tasting) 1 fruit, no stems

All entries must be free of soil, insects, and disease damage. Foliage should be left on and will be considered by judges. Containers will not be judged.

T DAHLIA single bloom or cluster
U MARIGOLD single bloom or cluster
V ZINNIA single bloom or cluster
W ROSE single bloom or cluster


All entries must be free of soil and disease damage. Entries will be judged on creativity & imaginative use of vegetables, herbs, or flowers to achieve overall artistic effect.

X BASKET at least 5 varieties of home-grown veggies.
Y GARDEN BOUQUET at least 5 varieties of home-grown flowers.
Z HERB BOUQUET at least 5 varieties of home-grown herbs.


AA PIE any savory or sweet pie prepared with ingredients from your garden [a ten strawberry pie??]
BB HERB RECIPE any herb recipe prepared with ingredients from your garden.

[Hmm....chive oil?]


CC CREEPY CRITTERS creatures or objects made of plant materials, cut-up or whole.
DD PINT- SIZE POSIES at least 5 varieties of home-grown flowers in a pint milk or juice container.
EE BOUNTIFUL BASKET JR. at least 5 varieties of fruits or veggies.

See you there?

Bergen Street between Smith and Boerum Place
Sunday, 12 September, 10.30 onwards


  1. You're the best.

    But alas, only my broccoli and a few eggplants are truly ready.

    Its been a long time coming, but I have a major post on the Minnesota State Fair where we won some blue ribbons! Ha, you'll see...

    By the way, I've been promoting the idea of a Kings County Fair for years now to anyone who is willing to listen to someone with ideas and little ambition. Its time has come!

  2. PS

    I hope that you are entering both the art from nature and food categories.

  3. For the ones who can not make it, is it fair to expect a full report?

  4. This sounds like so much fun! Too bad I won't be here this Sunday, we are going up to New Paltz for another fair. Hope you win a ribbon.

  5. Damn! I was all set to enter my Central Park West peach jelly but there's no jam/jelly category! And they call this a farm fair? I guess I'll have to give it to you instead.

  6. How nice to see littlies still catered for. I loved making sand saucers and egg cup posies.(And given that I have so few flowers here, I still make mini posies;-) )

  7. What a wonderful idea! It won't be long before there will be a category for city chickens, too, i would hope,as well as jams, jellies, liqueurs, baked goods, etc.! You might start the animal category by entering "largest, organically fed tomato hornworm caterpillar" *g*

  8. Heading to the farm today to see if there's anything fitting the categories.

  9. Extract the background and this floral arrangement is very reminiscent of flemish/dutch/Vermeer paintings ...

  10. thank you so much for posting this - for some reason greenthumb removed it from their site and I wanted to share with others.

    I wound up taking a few blue ribbons - including the much coveted hot peppers (beat out 9 other competitors) - though it is looking like I may not be able to defend my title as I have been kicked off the roof by building management :(


  11. Hi Nick

    Did you see this post? It's of the fair itself.

    Did you also have some black cherry tomatoes?

    I'm so sorry about being kicked off, that's horrible! Will you try somewhere else, like a community garden?


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