43rd Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show

Eileen Slater, Best of Show
Melissa Starr,  Best Fruit and  Tomato

At Central Mall recently, local gardeners got to show off. County Extension Agent Emilee Bean helped record all of the fun and note the winners at the Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show. Truth be told, they are winners all. A total of 78 entries were judged for quality and uniformity. In my book, each and every one of those gardeners are champs.

Every week at the County Extension Agency, questions about gardening, pests, trees, plant varieties and more are fielded. Volunteers, master gardeners and employees of The Extension Agency either know the answer or will research the answer. Hundreds more questions were asked in person at the recent Fruit and Vegetable Show. What a great resource for our area!

This year’s show was the 43rd. The Central Mall Merchants Association, Jefferson County Horticulture Committee, area nurserymen, Jefferson County Master Gardener’s Association and the Jefferson County office of Texas A&M Agri-Life Extension Service sponsored this popular event.

Bean said that top-notch gardeners from all over the Golden Triangle compete each and every year. They go home with new friends, ribbons, prizes and money. The eight categories that attracted the “cream-of-the-crop” in homegrown produce are vegetables, fruits, herbs and processed vegetables and fruits. And I’d better not forget one of the most popular categories: the largest tomato.

Entries are judged for quality and uniformity. Ten judges are selected to hammer through the picture-perfect entries, Bean said. 

“They look for any speck that might be considered a reason for a lower score,” she added. “The very best vegetable, best fruit and best processed product is chosen. Each of these winners takes home a gorgeous triple streamer, rosette and a $25 gift certificate from the Jefferson County Horticulture Committee. The best herb, tomato, youth entry and Best of Show winners also receive a $25 gift certificate.” 

And that largest tomato winner takes home a gift certificate, too.

And now let’s name the winners. The Best Vegetable award was taken by Margie Hanlon of Port Neches for her green beans. The Best Fruit award went to Melissa Starr of Mauriceville for her ever-bearing figs. The Best Processed Food was the blackberry jelly cooked by Penny Gilfillian of Sour Lake. The Best Herb category was taken by Eileen Slater of Beaumont for her sage.

Audrey Fulton of Nederland won the Youth Category with her patty pan squash. Best of Show was awarded to Eileen Slater of Beaumont for her sage. The Best Tomato award went to Melissa Starr of Mauriceville for the large red cherry tomatoes. The ever-popular biggest tomato contest was won by Jay Jaetzold of Port Arthur with his tomato weighing in at 1 pound, 2 ounces! Congratulations all!