Oil or similar substances must never be used to polish. Wash with a soft cloth and plenty of water - do not use a brush. Always cut soft fruits, apples, plums etc with scissors to keep the stalk attached and handle as little as possible in order to preserve the bloom (the natural waxy covering). Similarly for appropriate vegetable - peas, beans tomatoes etc.
ARTICHOKES - Chinese
Long, clear-skinned, plump tubers.
ARTICHOKES - Globe
Large, heavy, shapely (rounded or conical), well-closed heads of plump, fleshy scales. Disbud the lateral heads leaving only the large main head.
ARTICHOKES - Jerusalem
Shapely, large tubers with smooth, clear skins.
Long, straight, thick, plump, bright stems with well-closed scales
ASPARAGUS PEA - Petit Pois and Mangetout
Well-shaped pods typical of the cultivar, about 2 ins / 5 cm long.
Large, shapely, solid, bright, well coloured fruits free from blemishes. Stage on a plate in a pyramid shape - nose end towards the edge of the table.
BEANS - Broad
Large, fresh, well-filled pods with clear skins and tender seeds. Size according to cultivar. Stage as attractively as possible, on plates or directly on the bench, with stalks one end and tails at the other.
BEANS - Dwarf and Stringless
Straight, fresh, tender snap pods with stalks and of an even length - good green colour with no outward sign of seeds. Size is of lesser importance than tenderness - discard old, tough, fibrous specimens. Stage in straight lines for easy counting and uniformity with stalks at top, tails to the front.
BEANS - Runner
Choose uniform straight sized beans. Avoid coarse specimens etc. Cut from vine with scissors.
Choose even-sized roots - about cricket ball size. Keep tap roots on. Take care when washing, as marks will appear after about 2 hours or so.
Long type - broad, clean shoulders, evenly tapered.
Globe type - spherical with small tap roots.
Both types - look for smooth clear skins and flesh of a dark uniform colour.
There are so many types, each exhibit is judged on its own merits
Fresh, solid, tightly closed sprouts of good colour. Size according to cultivar. All stalks should be the same length - choose tightly closed sprouts of uniform size. Do not remove too many outer leaves.
CABBAGES - Green
Shapely, fresh and solid hearts with surrounding leaves perfect and the bloom intact. Good colour. Size according to cultivar. Leave about 3 inches of stalk, pointed or round. Display with heads to the front.
CABBAGES - Red
Solid heads, well coloured, shapely, fresh, with bloom intact and free from blemish. Size and condition according to cultivar.
CAPSICUMS - Sweet Peppers and Chilli Peppers
Fresh, brightly coloured, yellow or red fruits with colour according to cultivar.
CARROTS and PARSNIPS
Tender roots of good shape, colour and size. Free from side shoots, with skins bright and clean. Select uniform sized roots. Cut tops and leave about 3 inches of stalk.
Heads with symmetrical, close, solid, white curds, free from stain or frothiness. Stage with about 3 inches of stalk - trim back the leaves so that they match the outside of the curd. Cover exhibit with clean paper or cloth to exclude light, but remove before judging begins!
Roots smooth and globe shaped.
Choose only good heads. Place a tie round the base of the leaves to prevent breaking and clean with running water. Neatly trim roots leaving a pointed butt end. Lay flat on the bench or use a backboard. To exclude light, see Cauliflowers. Large, firm but crisp, brittle and free from stringiness, with clean, fresh and undamaged leaves.
Select young, tender, shapely and uniform roots not less than 4 inches and not more than 6 inches. Stage flat.
Fresh, young, green, tender, straight fruits of uniform thickness, with short handles and with flowers still adhering. Should be completely matched with flowers still attached and waxy bloom intact. Display flat.
Round, solid, well-shaped and ripened bulbs with thick necks. Garlic displayed for exhibition should not be divided into segments.
HERBS - Culinary
Plants possessing some aromatic quality suitable for flavouring soups, stews, sauces etc. NOT including coriander, dill and horseradish. Arrange attractively.
Fresh, tender, small leafed ‘bulbs', not larger than about a billiard ball size, free from injury.
Solid, thick long-shafted well-balanced leeks, tight collared with clean, spotless skins and no tendency to bulbing. Choose leeks of the same length, in good condition and solid. Avoid excessive stripping of the outer leaves. Tease out the roots and wash thoroughly. Ensure that the stem (barrel), leaves (flags) and roots (beard) are flushed clean. Bind the leaves using raffia ie leave the leaves on but if too long for the Show bench, fold neatly in half and bind the leaves with raffia. Stage flat.
Lift the evening before, or the morning of, the Show. Wash roots downwards to avoid soiling the leaves and stage with the hearts facing the front. Remove only the damaged leaves.
MARROWS (including Squashes)
Young, tender fruits of absolute uniformity are essential. Wipe clean and stage directly onto the Show bench.
Uniform, well-ripened bulbs of good colour are best. Tips should be tied or whipped with raffia to about 2 inches. The roots should be neatly trimmed back to the basal plate. At Autumn and Winter Shows the bulbs must be well-ripened; for Summer shows, exhibit as grown. Often staged on rings or soft collars. Do not remove too many outer scale leaves. Wash carefully and NEVER use oil to polish.
ONIONS - Pickling
Small, very firm, well ripened uniform bulbs not exceeding 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Select carefully. Hold to light to check fullness. Retain natural bloom (avoid finger marks). Use scissors to cut from plant. Large, fresh pods of a deep green colour and with bloom intact. Free from disease or pest damage and well filled with tender seeds. Colour according to cultivar. Best arranged on plates.
Medium sized, about 6 oz tuber, shapely clean, clear skinned tubers with few eyes and shallow eyes. Biggest is not usually the best. About palm (hand) sized is best. Freedom from skin blemishes is essential - wash carefully and do not brush. Stage on plates with rose end outwards. Exclude the light as long as possible.
A shapely, large fruit of even colour and ripeness.
RADISH - Winter
Fresh, medium sized, good coloured roots, free from blemishes.
RADISH - Other than Winter
Fresh, medium sized, young tender, brightly coloured roots, free from blemishes and having short, intact foliage.
RHUBARB - Forced
Fresh, straight, thick, brightly coloured sticks with underdeveloped leaf-blades. Do not cut off the foliage. Wipe stalks clean and trim the bud scales at the bottom.
RHUBARB - Natural
Fresh, straight, long, slender stalks with well-developed red colouring with leaf-blades trimmed to approx 3 inches (7.5 cm).
SHALLOTS - Exhibition
Firm, well-ripened, shapely bulbs with thin neck and good size and colour. Necks need to be whipped or tied with raffia. For staging - see below.
SHALLOTS - Pickling
Round, solid, well-ripened bulbs of good colour with thin necks. Should not exceed 1 inch in diameter. Necks whipped or tied with raffia. Stage as separate bulbs and not as clusters. Roots should be cut off at basal plate. Stage on dry sand, heaped at the centre.
Large, thick, undamaged, dark-green leaves.
Fresh cylindrical cobs, well set throughout including the tips, with straight rows of undamaged grains, fresh green husks and silks attached. Grain that is in best condition for table use and of a uniform colour, which may be pale cream, white or of an intermediate colour. Leave no more than 1 inch of stalk attached and expose the contents by pulling down the husk and neatly tucking it under the cob.
Medium-sized fruits. Ripe but firm, richly coloured with calyces attached. Good shape and size for the cultivar. Avoid fruit which is over-ripe or with hard ‘green back' around the calyx. Stage on plates with calyces uppermost in plate classes; calyces downwards in collection classes. Cut in the morning of the Show with scissors to keep the calyces intact and fresh.
TURNIPS AND SWEDES
Turnips - about cricket ball size
Swedes - medium size
Clear skinned, solid, shapely roots with small tap root and no side-roots. The flesh may be white or yellow. Wash carefully, removing any dead foliage.