Members enjoyed an entertaining and highly informative talk from Jan Lovell. Jan is a qualified Horticultural Show Judge who oversaw much of the produce judging at our Summer Show earlier this year.
She started by explaining how in the late 1980’s and early 90’s she began exhibiting at produce shows, where she had some success. This got her interested in exactly how the judges made their decisions and prompted her to train as a judge in her own right.
Jan completed RHS training which involved theory tests, exams and practical demonstration of her ability to judge. Realising that her real passion was for vegetables, she went on to complete further training to become accredited as a judge by the National Vegetable Society.
After introducing herself Jan went on to share some of the key points she judges on when looking at produce in shows.
First and foremost she advised that exhibitors need to read their show schedule carefully to make sure what they are exhibiting is correct for the particular class they are entering. If a class asks for ‘4 potatoes white – one cultivar’, putting 4 red ones in to the class, however gorgeous, will not be acceptable.
Exhibits where multiples of fruit or vegetables are to be shown such as ‘six cherry tomatoes – same variety with stalks’ should show a high degree of uniformity. Each item should not only be the same variety but also the same size, colour and same stage of growth etc.
Jan advised that paying attention to detail and ‘titivating’ the produce so that it looks it best is important. However while a gentle wipe or the removal of the odd stray root can make all the difference, she cautioned against being over zealous and damaging skins or over dressing an exhibit. Jan also reminded exhibitors that a good judge will pick up and inspect the produce, so it’s not helpful trying to hide blemishes or damage on the underside.
Jan went on to give some pointers using vegetables which had been brought it by WGC members. Carrots (long) for example should have 3inches of leaf left on top, exhibit a nice straight root with a nice taper, they should be clean and show no loose skin. She also showed the measure she uses to assess the root of the carrot. (See photo)
Jan uses two key guides to assist with her judging. The Royal Horticultural Society book ‘The Horticultural Show Handbook’ and the National Vegetable Society book ‘Judges and Exhibitors Guide’.
Jan ended her talk with an impromptu exhibition of how to plat the leaves of a leak for show! Members thoroughly enjoyed the evening and look forward to welcoming Jan back as a judge at our Summer Show 2024.