The West Texas Fair and Rodeo has arrived and this year’s theme is “Making Memories.” Abilene Public Radio’s Joy Bonala spoke with one woman who’s made 40 years of memories from entering canned goods and pies to be judged at the fair.
Best in show ribbons were fanned out like a deck of cards and spilling over the edge of the kitchen table in Janice Hargrove’s home.
Her ribbon collection is the result of entering The West Texas Fair & Rodeo for the past 40 years. This year’s fair theme is “Making Memories,” Hargrove has made a lot of memories at the fair over the years. She is known for the sweet treats she cooks up each year.
Pecan, pineapple-coconut chess and buttermilk are her most popular pies, she makes a mean white fudge and then there are the countless entries of canned vegetables.
Pickled okra, peaches, picante, apple cinnamon jelly and pickled squash are buoyant inside their glass jars on Hargrove’s table, next to the ribbons. She suggests always using new caps when canning and be sure to have fresh produce.
Hargrove holds up one jar and taps on it with her pink fingernails.
“This is zucchini squash relish,” Hargrove said. “My husband hates zucchini but he thinks this is chow-chow and he eats it like a pig because he doesn’t know its zucchini.” She let out a laugh and continued to talk about how to properly can vegetables. Hargrove grows most of her own vegetables and gets her fruit from local farms.
Fair time is one of her favorite times of the year. She can contain her anticipation so she usually starts experimenting with recipes in March and since Hargrove and her husband don’t eat a lot of sweets, she takes her trial pies to church functions.
Hargrove said the fair has a lot to offer and it’s a great way to meet people in your community.
“Abilene has a lot of talented people and they should show their talents off,” Hargrove said. “I think they should get involved.”