I skipped the rides and the fried Oreos at the State Fair of Louisiana the other day and headed straight to the Louisiana Agriculture Building.
I was like a grade school girl on a field trip, except I made the exhibit rounds with a complimentary cup of Community Coffee instead of begging for cotton candy.
Did you know Louisiana’s land are is 48 percent forest? Facts such as these are scattered through the building, which house exhibits recognizing everything Louisiana from cotton to coffee.
My family operated a dairy farm in Mississippi with peaches, pecans and other crops, but I grew up in town and wasn’t very observant on trips to the country.
I can’t go back now, but I can be more appreciative of agriculture in the state where I have lived for the past 35 years. The exhibits, Ag Magic, are mostly set up for school children to learn where food comes from, but adults can learn a few things too.
For example, I picked up a LSU AgCenter magazine called Louisiana Ag, where I discovered Louisiana farmers are experimenting with some new crops such as tea and edible olives.
However, I was disappointed that I couldn’t find the best-tasting pickle in the Ark-La-Tex. My favorite episode of the Andy Griffith Show is where Aunt Bee hopes to unseat perennial pickle blue ribbon winner Clara Edwards. Aunt Bea’s pickles were dreadful, and Clara won for the 11th year straight.
My hopes of finding the local Clara Edwards were dashed when I learned the pickles are judged the week before the fair only on packing and appearance and NOT taste.
Those winners, as well as competition winners from photography and quilting, are showcased under glass lining the building’s walls.
I did write down a few names from the appearance winners, and I’m happy there are cooking contests later this week for beef, chicken and pecan dishes where taste IS considered. See a schedule here.
I did catch some of the livestock competitions, which were fun. And I sampled “fried watermelon.” Not for me.
Louisiana’s agriculture display may not compare to the Iowa State Fair (read about that trip here). But it’s our state and our fair, now in its 111th year.
You should go.