Deschutes County

The real fair food: It's anything but junk

This time-honored food isn't glazed donuts or curly fries

The real fair food

REDMOND, Ore. - When we think fair food,  glazed donuts, funnel cakes and elephant ears probably comes to mind. Tucked away behind all the powdered sugar is a different kind of fair food. It's home-grown fruits, veggies and more.

"Oh, the fair is much more than carnivals and curly fries," Carl Vertrees, superintendent of land and farm products at the Deschutes County Fair, said Wednesday.

This section of the fair is full of people's prized cucumbers, onions, raspberries, eggs and more herbs than you could ever imagine.  Showing produce and animal products are a deep seated long-time tradition for farmers in Oregon and around the country.

"It's about the agricultural values that the community was established on." Vertrees said.

The Deschutes County Fair was established 95 years ago.

"We're really happy to maintain these values," Vertrees said.

It's something that hasn't always been easy to do. Many county fairs have struggled to stay grounded.

"Well, they were victims of the recession," Vertrees said.

The year 2012 was a big one for the competition at the Deschutes County Fair, but in the last couple of years, the count of entries has fallen.
"Last year, we fell a little bit, and this year we fell about 10 percent," Vertrees said.

He also says it has more to do with the weather than the economy.

"The weather in May was pretty cool, which gave gardens a hard start," Vertrees said.

But with hard work and cultivated passion and patience, farmers have been able to show the fruits of their labor.

"It's good people doing good things," Vertrees said.

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