Garden Variety Mayhem

Good news everyone - my peppers have started flowering! I should have enough yield by August for jelly-making, and Fair entry. And with any luck, some holiday gifting. Because I am sure you have used up your supply from last year, no?

I went online looking for some data about this year’s dates, drop off times and whatnot, and I came across a .pdf file that listed all 2008 winners. Naturally, I opened it. What I found is enough dirt for a Dateline Exclusive. Stop the presses!

I realized that there is a couple (Nancy and Owen) living in Cumberland Furnace, TN (yes, that’s apparently a real place, I checked) – and that they placed in nearly every single category of canning last year – they were second in my category. Ben of Madison took first. In fact, in looking at the winners list, there seems to be a Jelly Oligarchy. I feel intimidated, but at the same time, happy that an urban amateur could breathe the same rarefied air as Minnie Fay of Lebanon, Opal of Cookeville and Marjorie of Lebanon. I am leaving out last names so that these people aren’t deluged with hate-mail. Though in the interest of full disclosure, you can find a full list of winners at:

Page 24.

In fact, of the 46 categories of canning, there were only 26 separate individuals placing – so, figure 1st – 3rd place on 46 categories – that’s 138 possible ribbons – divided among 26 people.

So, really, the fact that I placed – the fact that I possibly beat some of these mega-winners, well, it’s astonishing. Especially when you consider I only can one thing. Pepper jelly. Maybe this is the year I break into pickling my peppers.

To be clear, I’m NOT suggesting you try to sabotage these nice people. Really, I mean it.

But if you accidently let some hungry rabbits loose in Cumberland Furnace, I wouldn't say a word.