Friday, June 29, 2007

My Pie Won First-Place Ribbon at the Harvest Fair... Honest!

At last the strawberries are in!

We wait all year for this. In mid-June the Ontario strawberries are ready for harvesting and because it's for such a short time, we savour them all the more. The rest of the year we make do with bloated, watery, imported monster fruits. But for two or three weeks in June/July, we get to relish the small, sweet, Ontario gems. It's like eating candy!

Today I bought a quart, rinsed them and let them drain. I just managed to snap these pictures before I fell upon them and devoured them. They are so sweet, so small, in fact you can see how small by the bottom photograph, where one is pictured beside an ordinarily-sized plum tomato.

Each year I vow to go to one of these farms where you pick your own, or at least buy a large amount from the farmers' market, rinse, trim and flash-freeze them for the winter to come. But I never do. And I suspect I won't this year.

Which reminds me of a story...

Inspired by a strange nostalgia for a life I've never known, I'd always wanted to be able to say that "my pie won a ribbon at the harvest fair."

One year I got my chance. The Cabbagetown Harvest Festival was taking place one weekend in July and they were having contests in preserves and pies, etc. There was a category, "Fruit - Other" that I figured would work well for my strawberry-rhubarb pie (by all accounts a pretty good pie). I was going away the weekend of the fair however, so I barely had time to drop off my pie in the morning before driving out of town. I heard nothing the following week so thought nothing of it... until Dave, when I was visiting his cottage up north later in the week, mentioned that he'd visited the Festival that previous weekend and congratulated me on winning first prize! I refused to believe him! But... he insisted he wasn't teasing.

When I got back to town that Sunday, I could hardly wait till Monday. I called the organizers first thing and they asked me to come down and pick up my ribbon. I did. They offered me the remains of the pie too, now 10 days old, but I politely declined. I got my ribbon, a modest one (not a rosette or anything fancy like that) and bashfully asked how many entries there had been.

"You were the only one."


I had to come back to work and - my workmates were eager for the full story - send the promised e-mail to the entire company:

"My pie won first place ribbon at the Harvest Fair. [scroll down] I was the only entry."

DOUBLE D'OH!!!!!!!

Now here's the clincher. My dad, inspired by my pie dreams, decided for that same weekend to enter in the "Men's Apple Pie" category. Now my dad, excellent cook that he is, had never made a pie before. He made it, he entered it, and when I was picking up my ribbon, I asked after his results. He'd won too! And... when I asked how many entries there were in his category, they were a little unsure, but they knew there was at least one other, who had one second place. Well, as far as we're concerned, there were most likely at least 30 or 40 other entries.


Suza said...

Kudos to both you and your Pop! No matter the number of entries, I still think it is something to proudly boast of.

Strawberry rhubarb is my favourite pie. As a child, I spent many a summer at my Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Clarence's farm. We would help her pick the strawberries and rhubarb (which I remember being a bit scary looking) and then she would spend the afternoon making pies for us and the farmhands. They could eat four or five pies in one sitting! I was most impressed by that.

Capt. Luke said...

Congratulations all the same. I am sure you would have won even if there were 3 or 4 entries....;)

Blog Princess G said...

Suza, what a wonderful story! I must hear more next time we get together! xx

Aceman, you are incorrigible! For you alone I shall make a strawberries-only pie when I am back in baking form.