Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't Miss the DC State Fair - August 27th

The second DC State Fair is being held on Saturday, August 27, from 10 AM to 6 PM. The contests have expanded this year–you can check out all the details by clicking on the links at

The deadlines are approaching for the Crafts contests, Baked Goods contests, and Prepared Foods contests. If you're a crafty, culinarily inclined, or canmaster DC resident, submit your entries by midnight on Thursday the 25th to ensure your spot in the competition! Those who enter veggies grown in a DC community garden can win their garden a gift card donated by Behnke's!

This year, we have the following contests being judged at the Fair:

Baked Goods Contests

Pie Contests (best overall plus special prizes for most creative, best crust, and best apple pie)
Cupcake Contests (best overall plus special prizes for most creative, best appearance, and best vegetable-containing cupcake)

Craft Contests (special category prize for best craft containing recycled content)

DC Portrait Contest
Bike Accessory Contest
Vegetable Sculpture Contest

Vegetable Contests (special category prize for community garden with most entries)

Funkiest-Looking Vegetable Contest
Longest Vegetable Contest
Heaviest Vegetable Contest
Tastiest Tomato Contest

Prepared Foods Contests

Cucumber pickle
Other vegetable pickle
Fruit pickle

The Homebrew and Photography contests returned this year, but as last year, judging has already occurred, but the winners will be announced at the Fair.

Check out for more information about the day!

Information provided by Kenneth Moore
DC State Fair President

Beautyberry Plants help beat the skeeters

I've always loved the American Beautyberry plant (Callicarpa americana), not just because it produces beautiful purple berries in the fall, but because every bird and critter that moves through my yard love to munch on those berries. Being a wildlife lover, I appreciate any plant that attracts more wildlife.

Wildlife: The fruit is high in moisture content and is an important food source for more than forty species of songbirds including the American Robin, Brown Thrasher, Purple Finch, and Eastern Towhee. The drupes or clusters are eaten by armadillo, foxes, opossum, raccoon and squirrels. White tailed deer consume the fruit in the fall after leaf drop. They also browse the leaves in summer when highly preferred foods are not available. Protein content of the leaves ranges from 18 percent in spring to 8 percent in fall. (Source)

Beautyberry is a native plant that requires absolutely no additional care in my yard.

BUT, I'm starting to appreciate the beautyberry plant for a whole new's ability to help repel mosquitoes.

I had heard about the mosquito repelling qualities of beautyberry long before I finally gave it a try. But for the last week or so, I've been using it when I go outside in the evenings.

I pull a few leaves off of a plant and crush the leaf and roll it on my arms and legs. I can honestly say that I have seen a drastic reduction in the number of mosquito bites.

Studies by the USDA Agriculture Research Service have concluded that the compound found in these plants - "callicarpenal" - may be as effective as DEET in warding off moquitoes.

If you don't have any beautyberry plants on your property, I encourage you to get one or two. Do it for the critters that love them (birds and more), the critters that hate them (mosquitoes!), or just for yourself. Every garden can use a little more purple!

For more information: Folk Remedy Yields Mosquito-Thwarting Compound

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