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Pioneer Gardens title image

Standing Rock Fair exhibit, 1931
1931 Standing Rock Fair exhibit, Fort Yates, ND
SHSND# 1952-0181
Sweet corn is another vegetable that gets little attention at state and county fairs. In Morton County it was classed with Fodder in 1912 and did not appear in vegetables until 1921. The Cass County/State Fair did not list sweet corn until 1912; in 1929, Golden Bantam which became a staple for decades was listed in the sweet corn category along with “any sweet corn.”

The longest list of vegetables appears to belong to the 1910 Fargo/Cass County/State Fair with 83 entry categories plus peas which had to be shown as a collection including 10 different varieties (not named). The first county fair at Pembina had 16 categories for vegetables, while the first Morton County Fair listed 27 categories.

The State Fair at Minot simplified vegetable categories considerably. There were usually 41 categories which contestants could enter. The categories were general, such as sweet corn or tomatoes (large or cherry). Very few changes in vegetable categories took place between 1966 and 2008. Endive disappeared from the list in 1983, and winter squash disappeared in 1996 and was replaced by the “other” category of squash. This is an interesting reversal of squash categories which were almost entirely winter squash (or Hubbard) until the late1920s. The Fargo Fair allowed entries in summer squash in 1910 and 1912, but it didn’t appear as a regular category until 1928. Summer squash was either scalloped or crookneck (yellow) then. The State Fair around 1996 described summer squash as “zucchini type.” (Zucchini is a late comer to the vegetable world and did not gain a following until the 1960s).