COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of 'lorida
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, lyirector
Exhibiting and Judging Vegetables
boys and girls intently study
they are judging.
Fig. L.-These 4-H Club
the vegetable classes
Exhibiting and Judging Vegetables
It's lots of fun to exhibit and judge vegetables together with
other young people. You will learn how to grow and prepare
vegetables-as well as get a lesson in sportsmanship. Exhib-
iting and judging have their thrills. And you may be able to
show Dad that he's not the only good farmer in the family!
WHAT MAKES AN EXCELLENT EXHIBIT
An excellent exhibit of vegetables has:
1. Trueness to variety (use only one variety in each exhibit).
2. Good market quality.
3. Uniformity in size, color, shape, maturity.
4. Freedom from insect and disease injury.
HOW TO JUDGE
When you judge a class of vegetables made up of a number
of exhibits, study the class as a whole. Stand back a short
distance to do this. Which exhibits have all four traits listed
above? You can save time by placing the best and poorest
exhibits first. Then you can spend more time on the puzzlers.
What Do We Mean by-
Market Quality.-Because vegetables are grown to be eaten,
high quality is the most important consideration in judging.
Keep in mind what the market wants.
Maturity.-Certain vegetables reach peak quality when im-
mature. Others have best quality when fully mature. (See
individual examples, Page 6.)
Freedom from Injury and Disease.-Injury takes away from
the vegetables' appearance; that's why you should never show
a damaged vegetable.
Injury is any defect which more than slightly affects the ap-
pearance of an individual vegetable or the general appearance
of the vegetables on the plate. It cannot be removed without
an estimated loss of more than 2 percent of the total weight of
Damage is any defect which materially injures the appearance
of an individual vegetable or the general appearance of the veg-
tables on the plate. It cannot be removed without a loss of
more than 5 percent of the vegetable.
Serious damage is any defect which seriously injures the ap-
pearance of an individual vegetable or the general appearance
of the vegetables on the plate. It cannot be removed without a
loss of more than 10 percent of the total weight of the vegetable.
Uniformity.-Vegetables in any exhibit should be uniform in
shape, size and color. Of course, size varies with the variety.
A rule of thumb is "not too large and not too small". Keep in
mind what the market wants. Each variety has a typical shape
and color and the vegetables you pick for display should fit into
Here is a sample score card for judging vegetables:
Condition of Exhibit .................................................. .. 15
Correct Varietal Character ....................... ................. ... 25
L abeling ......................... ............................... .. 10
Uniformity (Size, Shape and Color) ........................---... 20
M aturity ............................................. ................ ..... 10
Freedom from Blemish (Insect, Disease, Mechanical
and Other Injury) ................................................. 20
Vegetables fall into four classifications: excellent, good, worthy
and unworthy. This chart tells you what the traits of each
No injury No damage
Uniform in size, shape, color Fairly uniform in size, shape, color
Excellent market size and quality Good market size and quality
True to variety type Fairly true to variety type
Fairly clean Dirty
No serious damage Seriously damaged
Not uniform in size, shape, color Extreme difference in size, shape,
Fair market size and quality color
Not distinctly off type Poor market size and quality
Distinctly off type
VEGETABLE JUDGING SCORE CARD
How to use the score card:
A vegetable class is made up of six exhibits-exhibit A, B,
C, D, E and F.
Make a pencil mark underneath the correct placing on the
score card. In the sample score card below, exhibit B is ex-
Vegetable Judging Score Card
Participant's Name or No. Official Placing
Perfect Judging Score 500 (No. Veg. X 100 = 500)
Total Points Deducted
(No. wrong X 5)
Garden Record Book 100 (20 X No. Veg. = 100)
cellent; exhibit C is good; exhibit D is worthy; and exhibits A,
E and F are unworthy.
HERE ARE SOME INDIVIDUAL EXAMPLES
Snap beans will break easily and won't have a seed bulge.
Peas should fill the pod nicely, and yet be tender. Sweet corn
is best in the "milk" stage; if the kernels are full, yet pop when
you push your fingernail into them, they are the right maturity.
Peppers usually are exhibited while green, but color doesn't
mean they are poor quality. Don't put green and ripe peppers
in the same exhibit. Cucumbers are exhibited either as pickles
or as slicers. Small pickles are those under 3 inches long. Dills
are 3 to 5 inches. Slicers are more than five inches.
Tomatoes for canning purposes should be red all over-inside
and out. If they are for market, they may have some green,
but still should be firm. It is important that they be uniformly
ripe in an exhibit.
Root crops-beets, turnips, carrots-are marketed when they
reach a desirable size. Quality stays good except when they be-
The best quality salad crops and greens are young and tender.
A few vegetables, such as onions, sweet potatoes and winter
squash, should be completely ripe.
Trueness to variety-Make sure your vegetables come up to
the standards of the variety. Always put the name of the va-
riety with the exhibit. It's wise to become familiar with the
variety's characteristics. In exhibits with a number of speci-
mens, as tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beets or corn, don't mix
Fig. 2.-Two varieties of small sugar pumpkins on exhibit.
HOW TO SELECT VEGETABLES TO EXHIBIT
Don't pick out just the biggest vegetables. (Usually over-
grown specimens aren't good to eat.) They are apt to be woody
or tasteless. Of course, there are exceptions, like squash, pump-
kins, and watermelons. These are exhibited when mature. Sum-
mer squash, however, should not be overgrown. Medium-size
vegetables are the ones to choose. Always keep in mind-they
should be uniform.
GETTING READY FOR THE EXHIBIT
Washing and scrubbing make the vegetables appear at their
very best. Do this carefully because brush marks may mar the
surface and may not show up until several hours after washing.
Handle tender vegetables carefully to avoid bruising.
After picking your vegetables, lay them out on a table or on
the grass. Be choosy which ones you select to go to the fair.
Perfection is the key word-free from insect and disease injury.
Select on the basis of quality, condition, and uniformity, keeping
in mind the characteristics of the variety.
POINTERS FOR SELECTING MAJOR VEGETABLES
Beans, Snap.-Remove injured or discolored pods, and select
long, straight specimens of the same length, size, and color.
Young pods preferred with seeds 1/4 to 1/2 mature size. Do not
wash. Arrange in orderly manner in container.
Beans, Lima.-The pods should be well filled. Uniformity in
size, shape, and color, and uniformity of development are im-
portant for either shelled or unshelled beans.
Beets, Bunched; Carrots, Bunched; Turnips, Bunched (select
specimens 2 to 3 inches in diameter).-If tops are good, leave
them on. Remove dirty, discolored or injured leaves. Tender-
ness and color, both interior and exterior, are important. Very
Fig. 3.-Carrot exhibits, left to right: Excellent, good, worthy, unworthy.
This illustrates variation in size and shape.
Er dl~ B ~ ~ 1 I ~ D
large roots are often coarse and woody. Tie tightly in bunches
Wash thoroughly, but do not scrub. Do not cut taproot.
Beets, Topped; Carrots, Topped; Turnips, Topped.-If tops
are poor quality, remove / inch above crown. Wash thoroughly.
Broccoli.-Cut stem as far below head as it is tender and suc-
Cabbage.-Trim all outer leaves but 2 or 3. Three- to five-
pound heads usually have best quality.
Cantaloupe (Muskmelon).-Select a specimen as nearly ma-
ture as possible. It should be free of dirt, of medium size, well-
shaped and netted. Clean, but do not wash.
Carrots (see beets).-Select specimens of a good bright color,
avoiding those that are greenish or pale yellow in color. They
should be 1 to 11 inches in diameter.
Chinese Cabbage.-Remove all discolored and coarse outer
Collards.-Select 3 perfect, tender plants and tie together at
base. Preference will be given to well developed plants.
Cucumbers, Slicing.-Select uniform, straight, well-shaped
specimens that are full-grown but not mature enough to show
any yellow color.
Cucumbers, Pickling.-Same as slicing except less than 3
inches long for small pickles and 3 to 5 inches long for dills.
Eggplant.-Select specimens that are smooth and free from
bronzing, full-grown, but not mature. Wipe clean; do not wash.
Fig. 4.-Snap bean exhibits. Left, poorly graded and uneven maturity;
right, well graded, uniform size, shape and maturity.
Lettuce, Head.-Remove all discolored or injured outer leaves.
Remove roots just below each head.
Onions, Cured.-Remove roots 1/4 inch below base. Remove
dirty, ragged outer scales only. Remove top well above top of
bulb. Do not mix varieties.
Onions, Green.-Do not remove roots. Trim tops lightly to
even lengths. Tie in bunch of 12. Wash thoroughly. Green
onions must be less than 2 inches in diameter.
Peas.-Leave in pods. Select full-grown, tender pods. Sort
out all discolored or injured pods.
Peppers, Bell Type.-Select full-grown green specimens. They
should be large, smooth, and thick meated with the same num-
ber of lobes.
Peppers, Pimento Type.-Use smooth specimens fully colored.
Potatoes, Irish.-Select only medium-sized and uniform speci-
mens. They should be free from insect and insect damage,
bruises and cuts. Clean, but do not wash.
Sweet Potatoes.-Same as Irish potatoes. Select well-shaped,
mature specimens. Clean-do not wash.
Radishes.-Grade for size, shape and color. Wash thoroughly
and tie in bunch of 12.
Spinach, Mustard, Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Parsley.-Cut entire
plant just below crown. Remove discolored or injured leaves.
Wash thoroughly. Tie in bunch 3 inches in diameter at tie.
Squash, Summer.-Select immature specimens with stem at-
tached. May be washed.
Squash, Winter.-Select mature specimens with stems at-
tached. Do not wash.
Fig. 5.-The smaller sweetpotato in center is the correct size (U. S. No. 1)
for exhibit. The large ones on either side are too big (jumbo).
Sweet Corn.-Harvest well-filled ears in milk stage. Do not
pull husks from tips. Allow short shank and husk to remain
Tomatoes.-Tomatoes should be smooth and free from cracks,
spots, or other blemishes and with the least possible green area
around the stem end. Do not be much influenced by the size of
the fruit, as the smoothness is of greater importance. Care
should be taken to see that the fruits are not over-ripe, which
often happens when selections are made too long prior to the
time judging is done. Place on plates with blossom-end up.
POINTERS FOR SELECTING MINOR VEGETABLES
Asparagus.-Tie 12 spears, 5 to 8 inches long, in a bunch,
keeping butts even. Use only the tips. Do not exhibit foliage.
Cauliflower.-Cut stems, allowing 4 to 6 leaves to remain.
Trim leaves 1 inch above the curd (flower).
Celery.-Remove discolored outer stems. Wash.
Endive.-Cut roots from plants just below the crown. Wash
thoroughly and remove any discolored or injured leaves. Select
plants with leaves as uniformly curled as possible.
Kohlrabi.-Remove roots just below enlarged stem. Let 4 to 6
upper leaves remain. Tie in bunch of 6.
Pumpkin.-Select mature specimen with stem attached. Brush
dirt from specimen. Do not wash.
Rhubarb.-Clean but do not cut at base. Remove leaves about
an inch above the crown.
NUMBER OF VEGETABLES TO MAKE AN EXHIBIT
Beans, bush green, 1 qt. Onions, cured, 6
Beans, pole green, 1 qt. Onions, green, 12
Beans, lima, 1 qt. Peas, English, 1 pt.
Broccoli, 3 flower stems Peas, Southern, 1 pt.
Cabbage, 3 Peppers, bell, 6
Carrots, 6 Potato, Irish, 6
Collards, 3 plants Radish, 12
Corn, sweet, 6 ears Spinach, 1 bunch
Cucumbers, 6 Squash, summer, 3
Eggplants, 3 Squash, winter, 1
Lettuce, 3 Sweetpotato, 6
Melon, cantaloupe, 3 Tomato, slicing and green-ripe, 6
Melon, watermelon, 1 Turnip roots, 6
Mustard, 1 bunch Turnip tops, 1 bunch
Okra, 1 qt.
Artichoke, Globe, 6
Artichoke, Jerusalem, 6
Asparagus, 12 spears
Brussel Sprouts, 1 qt.
Chard, Swiss, 1 bunch
Endive, 1 bunch
Herbs, Collection of 3 kinds
Horse-radish roots, 3
Kale, 1 bunch
Parsley, 1 bunch
Peppers, hot, 1 pt.
Popcorn, 12 ears
Rhubarb, 6 stalks
Soybeans, 1 qt.
Tomato, cherry, 1 plate