Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Fair News – Summer 2000

Fair News Archive \ Fair News – Summer 2000

2000 Exhibition Hall Rules

The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) sponsors the Common Ground Country Fair, which encourages agriculturally-based rural communities. The Exhibition Hall at the Fair maintains one of the original intents of agricultural fairs: to improve local farming by bringing farmers together to compare the outcome of their farming practices. Traditionally, exhibition halls served as a post-harvest forum where farmers could teach and learn from each other about their successes and failures. MOFGA and the Common Ground Country Fair host an exhibition hall for this very purpose.

Maine residents can compete in many different contests in the Exhibition Hall. The contests include: great pumpkin; biggest squash; great zucchini; biggest cabbage; biggest beet; giant cuke; the whatever contest for vegetable oddities; organic farm exhibits; MOFGA chapter exhibits; other fruit and vegetable exhibits; canned foods; dried foods; baked goods; honey; eggs; herbs and houseplants.

Also appearing in the Common Ground Exhibition Hall is the work of amateur artists and craftspeople. Some of the arts and crafts on display in the Exhibition Hall each year include: afghans; bedspreads; quilts; clothing; sweaters; rugs; wall hangings; basketry; candles; dried flower arrangements; handmade soaps; pottery; photographs; paintings; woodcuts; and silkscreens.

Schoolchildren can take part in the Children’s Apple Pie Contest, and all Mainers can participate in the Natural Dessert Competition.


• Thursday, September 21. Exhibition Hall open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Entries in all categories accepted.

• Friday, September 22. Entries accepted from 8 a.m. until 9 a.m. Exhibition Hall open to fairgoers from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Judging begins at 10 a.m. and continues through the day.

• Saturday, September 23. Entries for the Children’s Apple Pie Contest and the Natural Dessert Contest will be accepted until noon. Judging at 1 p.m. Exhibition Hall open to fairgoers from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m.

• Sunday, September 24. Exhibition Hall open to fairgoers from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Please leave exhibits in place as late as possible, and remove them as soon after 5 p.m. as possible.


Competition in the Exhibition Hall is open to all organic growers in Maine. Entrants need not be certified organic growers, but must follow these practices:

• Soil fertility is achieved and maintained by using green manures, compost, animal manures and rock powders, seaweed, etc.… Chemical fertilizers are not permitted;

• Insects are controlled by crop rotation, predators, traps, biological insecticides or mechanical barriers. Synthetic pesticides and natural poisons with long-term effects are not permitted;

• Weeds are controlled by crop rotation, green manures, mulching and cultivation. Synthetic herbicides are not permitted.

General Rules for Submitting Entries

All articles are to be entered in the owner’s name and registered at the Exhibition Hall with the volunteers who will be there to assist you. If you are planning to exhibit more than 10 articles, preregistration materials can be obtained by mail by contacting Martha Gottlieb by Sept. 10 at 93 Head Tide Rd., Whitefield, ME 04353; 549-5198.

Unless otherwise noted in the preceding text, all entries must be in place in the Exhibition Hall before 9 a.m. Friday. If there is a problem meeting the deadline, we may be able to accommodate you if you call us early!

Judging Criteria for Vegetables and Fruits, Canned and Dried Foods, and Herbs

The criteria for judging at the Common Ground Country Fair include the suitability of the entry for its intended use — table or storage. Uniformity is an important criterion for carrots or beans, but less so for some peppers. For instance, a collection can demonstrate the color changes typical to the variety. Size can be an advantage, up to a point, but it may be difficult to judge in some of the rare heirlooms. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are especially valued, since they help maintain the genetic diversity so important to food crops.

Entries in the vegetable, fruit, canned and dried foods, and herbs categories are judged by how well they measure up to the ideal standard for their type. If any item is judged to be excellent, it is awarded a blue ribbon. More than one entry in a category can receive a blue ribbon, as items are not judged against each other.

Gift Certificates are awarded to the 1st Prize (Blue Ribbon) entries in all edible categories. Blue ribbon winners may redeem their gift certificates at the following Maine seed companies:

• Fedco Seeds, PO Box 520, Waterville, ME 04903-0520; Phone: 207-873-7333

• Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Foss Hill Road, Albion, ME 04910; Phone: 207-437-9294

• Maine Seed Savers Network, PO Box 126, Penobscot, ME 04476

• Pine Tree Garden Seeds, PO Box 300, New Gloucester, ME 04260; Phone: 207-926-3400
• Heritage Stock & Seed, HCR 72, Box 5430, E. Waterboro, ME 04030

Special Exhibition Hall Categories

• Great Pumpkin (by weight). Open to all ages. This category is for entries from the Cucurbita pepo species; this species includes acorn squash, summer squash, and the small gourds, as well as pumpkins. The stems are hard, with five sharply angled sides. Connecticut Field is an example of a very large variety.

• Biggest Squash (by weight). Cucurbita maxima; besides the giant pumpkin-like squash Atlantic Giant, this species includes Buttercup, Banana, Hubbard, and Turban squash. The stem is round and corky.

• Great Zucchini (by weight). Common Ground Country Fair’s answer to what to do with the one that got away!
• Biggest Cabbage (by weight). One head cut from the roots, but including the wrapper leaves.

• Big Beet (by weight). Tops should be neatly removed.

• Giant Cuke (by weight).

• The Whatever Contest (vegetable oddities).

Prepared Food Competitions

• Children’s Apple Pie Contest. Any school age or preschool age child who arrives at the ticket gate on Saturday morning with an apple pie in hand will get in free, providing he or she created the pie and is accompanied by a paying adult. Entries must be in the Exhibition Hall and registered by noon on Saturday. Competitors must use ingredients that comply with the Common Ground Country Fair food guidelines (included below). Judging is at 1 p.m.

• Natural Dessert Competition. Competitors must use ingredients that comply with the Common Ground Country Fair food guidelines (included below). Entries must be in the Exhibition Hall and registered by noon on Saturday. Judging is at 1 p.m.

Guidelines for Ingredients for Pie and Natural Dessert Competitions

These guidelines are taken from the Common Ground Country Fair Policy and Guidelines Statement. They are the items that pertain most to desserts that are entered in the Exhibition Hall. For a complete copy of the food guidelines for the Fair, contact the MOFGA Office.

• All ingredients used must be organic, and either Maine-grown or purchased through Maine coops, Maine natural food stores, or other Maine dealers. Due to the continuing export of dangerous agricultural chemicals banned in this country, we require that any fruits and vegetables not grown in Maine but purchased through Maine dealers at least be grown in the United States.

• No caffeine, including that found in tea or chocolate, is permitted. Acceptable sweeteners include Maine honey, maple syrup and barley malt. White sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, Sucanat, and fructose are not allowed.

• We recommend whole-grain flours. Bleached or bromated white flour is not acceptable. Up to 50% unbleached white flour may be used where necessary, but the less, the better. Filo leaves are the only exception to this rule.

• Oils must be expeller pressed and low in saturated fat. No hydrogenation, additives or preservatives will be permitted with any oil.

• Please limit the use of salt and related ingredients.

• No chemical additives.

Organic Farm Exhibits

Consisting of a display of produce, products, and materials descriptive of a single organic farm. Each display is judged on how well it presents a complete picture of the operation and avocations of the farm and its people. A prize of $100 for a full booth or $50 for a half booth will be given to first prize winners. Please reserve space by September 10. Display must be set up by 9 a.m. Friday.

MOFGA Chapter Exhibits

Consisting of a collection of entries from chapter members or a unified display depicting chapter life and events. Judged on how well the display represents the people, area and programs of the MOFGA Chapter. A prize of $100 for a full booth or $50 for a half booth display will be given to first prize winners. Please reserve space by September 10. Display must be set up by 9 a.m. Friday.

Fruits and Vegetables

Vegetables and fruits may be rinsed or brushed, but should not be scrubbed, peeled, waxed or otherwise changed from their natural state. If grown from commercial seed, specify variety. If grown from saved heirloom seed, please indicate.

Vegetables should be presented for judging in appropriate condition. Green beans, for instance, should be young and smooth; onions should be ripened off, with their skins intact for long storage; carrots and turnips, etc., should have about 1/2 inch of tops left on, as if ready for storage. Tomatoes should be ripe, blemish free or with naturally sealed cracks, and presented neatly with stems all on or stems all off.

Please provide your own white paper plates, small plates, or bowls, depending on the size of your entry. Please be sure to bring the correct number of articles for each exhibit.

• Artichokes: one would be great! Go for it!
• Beans: at least six pods of snap or runner beans, or one cup of shelled or dry beans. Include name of variety.
• Beets: sample of five small or three large, named variety.
• Broccoli: one head, named variety.
• Brussels Sprouts: bowl of five, named variety.
• Carrots: sample of five, named variety.
• Cauliflower: one head, named variety.
• Celery: one complete head, named variety.
• Corn: sample of three ears, named variety: field corn, dent; field corn, flint; sweet corn, white; sweet corn, yellow; sweet corn, bi-colored; popcorn; other.
• Cucumbers: sample of three, not overripe, named variety.
• Eggplant: sample of three small or one large, named variety.
• Garlic: three knobs, named variety.
• Gourds: sample of three small or one large, named variety.
• Ground Cherries: sample of five, named variety.
• Jerusalem Artichokes: sample of three tubers, named variety.
• Kale: sample of 10 complete leaves, named variety.
• Kohlrabi: sample of three small or one large, named variety.
• Leeks: sample of three, named variety.
• Mangels: sample of three small or one large, named variety.
• Onions: sample of five small or three large; yellow storage type; sweet Spanish type; red; white; pickling or cocktail; scallion; shallots; Egyptian; potato onion.
• Parsnips: sample of three, named variety.
• Peas: one plate or bowl sample: peas in a pod for shelling (six pods); edible podded (six pods {includes Sugarsnaps}); dry (one cup shelled). • Peppers: sample of five small or three large, named variety: green; sweet red; yellow; hot; other.
• Potatoes: sample of five small or three large, named variety.
• Pumpkin: sample of one named variety; field; pie; other.
• Rutabaga: sample of one, named variety.
• Squash: Summer, sample of three, named variety (includes edible gourds). • Squash: Winter, sample of one, named variety.
• Tomatillos: sample of five, named variety.
• Tomatoes: ripe only; sample of five small, three large, or a complete cluster, named variety.
• Turnip: sample of one, named variety.
• Any other vegetable not listed here, sample of five small or three large, to receive the same premium judged by type and variety.

Specify if heirloom variety. All fruits should be named varieties. Sample of five unless otherwise stated.
• Apples: crabapples; green, red, or yellow apples
• Apricots
• Cranberries: one bowl sample (about 1 pint) • Grapes: one bunch sample
• Melon: sample of one
• Peaches
• Pears
• Plums
• Raspberries: one pint basket
• Strawberries: one pint basket; alpine or standard
• Watermelon: sample of one
• Any other fruit to receive the same premium by variety or type

Must be cultivated by exhibitor, not wild-gathered. 1-quart sample.
• Butternuts
• Chestnuts
• Hazelnuts
• Walnuts
• Any other type to receive the same premiums.

One small sheaf, consisting of 15-20 heads per sample unless otherwise specified.
• Amaranth (sample of three small or one large)
• Buckwheat
• Millet
• Oats
• Rye
• Sunflower seed heads (sample of three small or one large)
• Wheat
• Other

Home Canned & Dried Foods, Home Baked Goods, Honey and Eggs

Home Canned Foods Awards based on appearance and use of good canning practices. Judges will not taste canned food. Canned goods must be displayed in commercially sold canning jars with metal lids, and safe and proper canning methods must be used. Please feel free to transport canned goods, for safety, with rings, but rings must be removed for display. All items must be canned by exhibitor.
• Fruits, 1 jar
• Vegetables, 1 jar
• Jams, Jellies or Marmalades, 1 jar
• Catsups, Chutneys, Relishes, Sauces and other condiments, 1 jar
• Pickles: sweet; sour, 1 jar
• Meat or Fish, 1 jar

Home Dried Foods and Culinary Herbs

This category has a lot going for it. Nothing but solar energy is needed for drying, and no energy is needed for storage. Vitamins and minerals are maintained very well.

Dried foods and herbs are judged both by their appearance and their suitability for long storage. Crop maturity and degree of dryness, color, aroma, texture and taste are all indicators of quality. The label must state contents and date. Clear glass jars, 1/2 pint or larger. Herbs may be presented in storage jars or jars designed for counter-top use.
• Fruit and fruit leathers
• Vegetables
• Granola, cereals
• Herbs: dried/prepared; cut, ground, powdered, or crushed leaves; seeds
• Meats: jerky
• Other

Homemade Beverages, Vinegars and Syrups

Clear glass jars,1 pint or larger. (Cider: 1 quart jar)
• Syrups: Maple, other
• Vinegars: Homemade wine or fruit vinegars. Label should indicate live cultures or pasteurized.
• Flavored Vinegars: Label should indicate flavor and vinegar source; homemade fruit, wine, or commercial.
• Apple Cider: Label should indicate apple variety, if known. Cider will be tasted by judges.
• Beers: herbal; root; other (examples: Sarsaparilla, Ginger, Spruce, Birch, Dandelion, Nettle). Samples will be tasted by judges.

Home Baked Goods
Judges will taste all home baked goods. Competitors must use ingredients that comply with the Common Ground Country Fair food guidelines (see above). No commercial bakeries or chefs. Leavening agents must be specified. We suggest you submit a copy of the recipe to be displayed with your items.
• Bread; Whole wheat; rye; white (specify flours); other dark (specify flours); fancy or sweet; quick; other; one loaf.
• Rolls, biscuits, muffins; plate of five
• Cakes; loaf; layer; coffee cake; other
• Cookies; plate of five
• Pies: single crust; double crust

All eggs must be washed and cleaned. Eggs will be candled. Indicate variety of hen, duck, turkey, etc, if possible!
• Hens eggs, white, one dozen
• Hens eggs, brown, one dozen
• Hens eggs, other colors, one dozen
• Ducks eggs, one dozen
• Other eggs, one dozen

Honey & Beeswax Products
• Extracted honey; 1 pint or larger jar
• Comb Honey
• Creamed Honey; 1 pint or larger container.
•Beeswax Cakes.
•Beeswax Candles.

Flowers, Fresh Herbs and Houseplants

• Single specimen with foliage, any flower by variety
• Mixed bouquet, annuals
• Mixed bouquet, perennials
• Mixed bouquet, dried materials
• Wildflowers and grasses. Note: Do not use any endangered or protected species. Such items will not be displayed or judged.

Fresh Herbs
• Fresh cut herbs in bunches: six or more varieties
• Herb Plants, live, potted
• Herb wreaths
• Sachets, potpourris, etc.

Entries should have been under the care of the exhibitor for at least six months. Entries will be checked daily and watered if necessary.
• African violets and other gesneriads, named varieties
• Begonias
• Bonsai. Please specify if purchased as nursery stock, grown from seed, grown from a graft or cutting, or wildgathered.
• Bromeliads
• Cacti and other succulents
• Geraniums and Scented Geraniums
• Hanging baskets or pots
• Ivies
• Other flowering houseplants
• Other foliage plants
• Terraria

Arts and Crafts

Amateurs only, please. Items will not be offered for sale, but we will give your name and address to individuals wishing to place an order with you or wanting to ask about patterns, techniques, etc. We define an amateur as a person who does not make a substantial portion of his or her living selling the art or craft he or she has entered.

Needlework and Fancy Work

No kits please. Judging preference given to articles made with natural materials. Please specify if the design is original or not.
• Afghans: crocheted; knitted; other
• Baby articles: afghans; crib blankets and spreads; carriage robes; booties; socks; slippers; bonnets; dresses; jackets; pant suits; sweaters; layette sets; buntings, etc.
• Bedspreads: crocheted; knitted; appliqued; embroidered
• Centerpieces: bureau scarves; dresser sets; doilies; dish mats; kitchen items: appliqued; crocheted;
knitted; tatted; embroidered; other
• Tablecloths, place mats, napkins, table runners: appliqued; crocheted; knitted; tatted; embroidered; other
• Chair seats and accessories: braided; crocheted; knitted; other.
• Children’s clothing: slippers; socks; gloves; mittens; scarves; hats; dresses; pants; tops; skirts; shirts; suits; sweaters; vests; ponchos; shawls; capes; coats; sets of three items or more, not individually entered above
• Adults’ clothing and accessories: slippers, socks, gloves, mittens, scarves, hats; women’s dresses, slacks, tops, skirts, blouses, suits; men’s slacks and shirts, suits, jackets; women’s sweaters and vests; men’s sweaters and vests; ponchos, shawls, capes, coats, stoles; sets of three items or more, not individually entered above
• Pillows: crocheted; knitted needlepoint; embroidered; sewn; quilted.
• Quilts: tied; quilted
• Rugs: braided; hooked; other
• Spinning and dyeing
• Wall hangings: samplers; pictures; panels
• Weaving
• Toys: sewn; knitted; crocheted; other; dolls and dolls clothing; doll houses and furniture (must be made by exhibitor, no kits please. Other people’s patterns and instructions may be used)


Amateurs only please. No kits please. Specify if the design is original or not. All pictures must be suitably framed
and ready to hang on a pegboard hook.
• Basketry
• Batik
• Beadworking
• Candle making
• Caning and other forms of seat-weaving
• Etching on glass
• Folk Art, Whimsies and Whirligigs
• Glass, stained, colored, copper-foiled or leaded
• Jewelry
• Leather
• Macramé
• Metal work
• Paper mache
• Pottery
• Pressed flowers
• Quilling
• Sculpture and Carving
• Soap making
• Tole painting
• Woodworking

Graphic Arts

Amateurs only. No kits, please. Items must be suitably matted or framed and ready to hang on a pegboard hook.
• Collage
• Drawings
• Paintings
• Photography
• Printmaking; linoleum cut; woodcut; silkscreen; other

2000 CGCF Poster