Fruit, any in season, three arranged on a plate. A fruit is defined for our purposes as a produce item formed of an expanded ovary, generally grown as a perennial and generally consumed as a dessert or sweet snack.
Pears, apples or gooseberries do not have to be ripe but those that are will have an advantage. The natural bloom [bloom is the dust or fuzz on the surface and care should be taken not to disturb it by touching] should be on all exhibits except crabapples which should be polished.
Seed fruits [pears, apples], and stone fruits [peaches, plums] should be shown with stems on. Blackberries and raspberries should have stems and core removed but strawberries and gooseberries should have stems left on. Grapes should be shown in clusters with a 2-inch stem left on.
All fruits should be fresh, ripe except for exceptions above, and not overripe so they are overly soft. Colours should be bright and true to cultivar.
Rhubarb, three stems.
Stalks should be uniform, especially in size and shape. Usual length is about 18 inches, however, longer and shorter cultivars are available and acceptable. Usual size is three quarter to one and a half inches in diameter. Stocks should be straight, clean and smooth. They should be firm and plump. Root ends are not cut off completely but the dark skin sheath may be removed. Tops should be cut off in a semicircle leaving one to two inches of leaf. Stocks should be blemish-free with no damage including roughness on the stock. One stock will be broken or snapped across to test for crispness and lack of strings. Colour depends on cultivar but should be clear and bright and vary from deep pink to rich dark red and should be uniform.
Strawberries, five on a plate.
Fruits should be a good size but not oversize. Colour should be bright and should range from deep pink to glowing red depending on variety. A dull colour indicates berries are not fresh and past their prime. Fruits should be clean and well matured but not soft.
Uniformity of size and shape are most important. Watch for lopsided berries.
Select a plate that fits the size of the five berries and a colour that shows them to advantage [usually white]. Arrange berries attractively.
Tomatoes, any cultivar, 5 arranged on a plate. To be shown with stems on. The outer skin should be smooth, and they should be uniform in size and shape. Size will vary with but try to select ones that are not too large or too small for the cultivar. When I have shown in this class I find the 5 that are most uniform are the ones chosen regardless of size! Shape also varies with cultivar and again uniformity is the key. Colour will also vary but should be bright.
Tomatoes must always be cut and the judges will do this for consistency. The skin should be thin, the seeds small, and the flesh thick on both inner and outer walls. Taste should not be too acidic.