August 21, 2000 | By: Kelly Orme, Josh Estep, 4-H Junior Press Corps
LOUISVILLE, KY

Horticultural judging is more than picking out good produce at the grocery store. The 4-Her's who judge horticulture have to know many things about fruits, vegetables, and woody ornamentals.

According to Carolyn Thompson, the 1999-2000 Central Director of the National Junior Horticultural Association, the judging takes part in two different steps.

"You have 10 different things that you judge, including quality, the vegetable's form, and how it is growing," said Thompson. "In the identification part you have vegetables, woody ornamentals, and fruit and nut identification."

To be a top individual in judging, Thompson said you need to know the quality of the item that is being judged.

"In the bean class, for example, there has to be a certain number of beans on a plate and you want to look for that," said Thompson.

For the identification part of judging there are slide programs that often are presented to 4-Hers to help them study and learn, explained Thompson.

The state competition takes place in Louisville during the Kentucky State Fair. There the 4-Her's who placed high from their areas can participate in the event.

Thompson said the state participants need to know 25 different items that can be identified. From these 25, ten items are pulled for them to identify. At national competition there are 75 different items that participants are responsible for knowing. From these only 25 are pulled out for the participants to identify.

Kenisha Webb, 11, of Pike County participated in this years Junior Division of 4-H Horticultural Judging.

She said judging fruits and nuts is the most difficult part for her.

"I don't like the fruits and nuts because the seeds are hard," said Webb. She said the most enjoyable part for her is judging cucumbers.

"I like vegetables and my favorite one to judge is cucumbers," said Webb.