Garden Gate: Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show

Grant Boucher of Groves won the youth category with his bell peppers

Tensions were high among the affable crowd at Central Mall last week. Area gardeners were about to be judged on their efforts in the garden in the 46th annual fruit and vegetable show. This is the longest running contest of its kind anywhere around Texas. I visited with both David Oates and Peggy Coleman of Texas Agri-Life Extension Agency recently. Oates is the county extension agent and Coleman is head “inside agent” as she has been with the agency since way back when.

Oates said, “Gardeners and their questions have been literally bombarding our office for months, but nothing can compare to the questions and comments received Saturday, June 9, at Central Mall in Port Arthur at the 46th annual Jefferson County Fruit, Herb and Vegetable Show.” 

The show is held in June every year and is sponsored jointly by 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.

Oates added, “It always attracts top-notch gardeners from all over the Golden Triangle to compete for ribbons, prizes and money. The five categories that attracted the ‘cream-of-the-crop’ in homegrown produce were vegetable, fruits, herbs and processed vegetables and fruits. A total of 84 entries were judged for quality and uniformity. Four judges were selected to hammer through the picture-perfect entries to search for any speck that might be considered a reason for a lower score.”

 The best vegetable, fruit and processed product were selected and won a gorgeous triple streamer rosette and a $25 gift certificate from the Jefferson County Horticultural Committee. The Best Herb, Tomato, Youth Entry and Best of Show winners also received a $25 gift certificate.

The Best Vegetable winner was Sharon Labove from Port Arthur for her green onions. Penny Gilfillian of Sour Lake cooked the Best Processed Food with her blackberry jam. Labove won the Best Herb Category for her dill. Grant Boucher of Groves won the Youth Category with his bell peppers. Best of Show was Sharon Labove for her dill. The ever-popular Biggest Tomato winner was Boucher for his 1.5-pound tomato.

Peggy Coleman, and David Oates, and master gardener volunteers at the Texas Agri-Life Extension Agency are  there to help you. You can give ‘em a ring at (409) 835-8461 with gardening questions, ask about being a master gardener and find about the next fruit and vegetable show. You might be the next winner.