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Video | Harvest Fair at Johnson Farm
By CONNIE MEARS
With just over an hour left in the Big Zucchini Contest at last Sunday’s Harvest Fair, two entries were neck and neck: a fat, yellow spotted beauty edging out a longer, leaner classic green.
Terri Bryant, who was manning the table, heard a woman say she had a zucchini “bigger than these” at home. Since the two front-runners hovered in the neighborhood of 24 pounds a piece, Bryant was, if nothing else, curious.
“I said, ‘Well, go get it!’” she explained. And a little while later, Erin Jakubek returned with a big one. When all was said and done, the contender weighed in at a whopping 48 pounds, easily taking first place. Jakubeck shares the honor with fellow gardener Dana Steege-Jackson.
Zucchinis weren’t the only edibles vying for prizes at Sunday’s fair. The pie-making contest had a few surprises, not the least of which was 6-year-old Chabot Lafayette, whose Bus Stop Blueberry won for Best Name and really was made from berries picked at her bus stop. Double-winner Amy Zimmer took the cake, er, prize for Best Sweet Pie and Best Crust.
Scoring on a scale of 1 to 20 with four criteria – appearance, crust, texture and flavor – judges rated pies in eight categories. Judges were: Mike Hale from Hale’s Ale; Omie Kerr, winner of last year’s competition; Jim White, head chef at IslandWood; Jeff Shepard of Blackbird Bakery; Mike Loudon of Bainbridge Bakers and food critic Richard Lassen. White said the panel was impressed with several “particularly gorgeous pies” submitted by youth.
In the end, it was Jenny Weaver who walked away with the Grand Champion ribbon for her apple pie called “Garden Apple,” so named for its use of the “under-ripe red delicious” apples from her yard. The secret to her success? Perseverance, she said.
“This is the fourth time I’ve entered, and I won third place last year. I really wanted to win!”
Pies were sold by the slice as a fundraiser for Trust for Working Landscapes, the nonprofit organization that manages 60 acres of farmland on Bainbridge, including the 10-acre Johnson Farm where the fair takes place each year.
Other pie-baking winners included Sarah Bischoff whose Old-Fashioned Recession Tomato won for most unique; Best Youth Baker award went to Tanika Richard; Shane Quinlan walked away with the award for Best Appearance for Queen Elizabeth’s Sour Puss Crabapple; and Renee Burnett won the Best Savory category for her Apple-Onion Rosemary pie.
The fair included activities for kids, local food, spirits and music, and earth-friendly information such as composting demonstrations by John Barutt and Becky Croston from the WSU Master Gardeners of Kitsap County.
Video clips by Brad Camp/Staff Photographer
Zucchinis compete in downtown event
If you missed the big zucchinis at the Harvest Fair, don’t despair. Many of them can be seen going neck and neck in a different contest – the 25th annual Great Zucchini Race at noon, Oct. 4 in front of Bainbridge Performing Arts. Presented by the Bainbridge Island Downtown Association and sponsored by Real Foods, the 2009 Great Zucchini Race has two classifications, a children’s and an adult’s division. Zucchinis can be decorated, but must have wheels, preferably with the axle attached through the zucchini. Organizer Terri Bryant said the rules are fairly lax, except for one: cucumbers are strictly prohibited. A $1 entry fee is due with registration which begins at noon. Judging on decorations takes place at 1 p.m. and the race begins at 2 p.m. For more information, call 842-2982 or visit www.bainbridgedowntown.org.