Wishetwurra Farm at the Fair: Comments on First Prize

Wishetwurra Farm had a very good year at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society’s 154th annual Cattle Show and Fair. Of thirty-two vegetable and horticultural entries, thirty won prize ribbons, ten of which were first prize. We’ve written previously about the honorable mentions, thirds, and seconds.  We now turn our eyes to the winners, on the top level of the MVAS podium.


The 2015 Wishetwurra Farm MVAS first-prize winners. “On the podium”? Did you know that the world of athletics has “verbed” the act of standing on the podium? There is a statistic for “podiuming”, which refers to the number of times annually an athlete places in the top three. Words!

Some say that success in life is attained just by “showing up”.

We may have been the only entry for blue hubbard squash.


Blue hubbard squash. We had a nice, almost perfectly matched pair to enter. It’s nice to think we might have won anyway, but in this case, we won because we showed up.

Blue ribbon chard? We’ve had far prettier chard in the past. One year we were disqualified, because we brought the plants still in their soil. The category instructions plainly say “in water”. Oops. We have not made that mistake again.


The category “Chard, plants, in water, 2”, had few entries. Full hot summer is a tough time for chard cosmetics. There are often few entries in this group. We got this blue ribbon for showing up.

Can you beet this? Nobody did. They didn’t show up.


There didn’t seem to be huge numbers of beet entries. These “Bull’s Blood” beets weren’t bad though, and met with the judges favor.

There weren’t a lot of “lettuce, in water, 2”, but our plants were pretty, and at an almost perfect eating stage. Growing lettuce in late August is not easy. We showed up.


August lettuce isn’t always easy. How to get it? Choice of variety helps. Timing of planting helps. Lots of water helps. So does a good layer of mulch, to keep the roots cool.

How about this? Blue potatoes get a blue ribbon.


These weren’t the biggest potatoes, but they were nice, and uniform, and were chosen “number one”. Sometimes you get lucky.

Every year, onion family entries come into the Fair by the carload. Competition is tough, and even a third prize can mean “Wow! Beautiful entry!”.


We had yellow shallots and red shallots this year. There were some incredible reds, but not five matching ones, not in any size range. Many of the reds we rejected because they’d thrown flowers, and I think the presence of the flower stalk is considered a defect. There were five nice yellows, though, with no stalk faults, and they did well. This year, for the very first time ever, our shallots got a blue ribbon.

Green peppers are another category that gets large numbers of entries. Every year in the past, other gardeners have grown far more gorgeous peppers than what Wishetwurra Farm could produce. This year, for the first time, that did not happen.


Find five uniform peppers, I dare you! Our green “corno di toro” peppers, and their first place ribbon.

Every year, if all goes well, the garden will make something fine. There might be a flaw or two, but not enough to cancel the “wow”. The judges will be happy with the submission, and they’ll award a blue ribbon. And you’re happy because those plants did so well.


Shimmeig striped stuffer tomatoes from Fedco seeds. http://www.fedcoseeds.com/seeds/search?item=4084

If there’s anything everybody grows, it’s tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes are all the rage lately.

So for Wishetwurra Farm to win a blue for “heirloom tomatoes, 5”, with these “costoluto genovese” beauties, well, it felt like the very best blue ribbon of the MVAS 2015 Fair.


This photo was taken the day after entry, so the pretty green “caps” on the fruit have dried up. But you can still see how nice these costoluto genovese”tomatoes are. Thomas Jefferson grew these at Monticello. https://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/costoluto-genovese-tomato 

You can get a blue ribbon for showing up, by being lucky, or even from steady work.

Sometimes it takes all three.








2 responses to “Wishetwurra Farm at the Fair: Comments on First Prize

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