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Gardener's Grapevine 2012.09.05

on . Posted in Gardener's Grapevine

The Fulton County Fair was this past weekend. It is in my opinion the best fair around. One of the reasons I feel that way is cleanliness. They keep the place tidy and spruced up. In Art’s family the fair is a big deal. His father went every year of his life. When Art and I started dating I couldn’t understand the desire to go to the fair more than once. What do you do? I’d ask. Visit and see the exhibits and eat was the answer.

As the past 30 years have passed, our children have been in 4-H at that fair, we’ve both worked and made friends all around the area, and now even I get excited about the fair. It’s just plain fun. I get so excited to eat the crazy fattening food and see all the people I worked with or knew from my days as a nurse in that county. 

Let’s talk about the food. No other time of year do I eat an éclair funnel cake. It’s deep fried dough covered in powdered sugar, a huge glob of bavarian cream, and drizzled with chocolate. Two forks please…Art has to help me with this. We carry this crazy blood sugar raising mess around and check out the animals that by the way will be on someone’s dinner table next week, the grange produce and canning entries, and the art exhibits.

The Grange is a place a lot of people don’t even pay much attention to, but as a gardener, it is one of my “must sees.” When Morenci was mostly a farming community the Granges were hugely popular. It was a social meeting place for farmers and anyone in the local area that had an interest in their activities. There aren’t many Granges left.

I like looking at what the members have grown. They show huge pumpkins, squash tomatoes, and just about anything else that can be harvested. They also display their talent at canning. Their jars look so beautiful lined up and shiny. I always see something that looks like it would taste great.

The Granges also display a lot of sewing, particularly quilts of all sorts of things.  A few years back I took some old quilts to Sauder Village to have them evaluated as possible donations. The lady who met with us showed us a quilt from the Morenci Grange that was raffled off many years ago. It had embroidered sections like a Dresden plate pattern and inside each piece was a name of a grange member. It was fascinating to see some very familiar names from days past. 

This week I will be canning tomatoes and thinking of all the gorgeous cans of food lined up for show at the fair. One new thing I’m going to try with the rest of the green beans is “Dilly beans.” It’s a recipe to pickle green beans from a lady my daughter works with. They sound so good. After the fair is done it is always nice to get home to my fresh organic produce and low fat diet. There is only so much éclair funnel cake a person can stand…at least ’til next year.

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