State Fair Food Crafts

When the California Agricultural Society launched what became today’s State Fair in 1854, consumers were already comfortable with purchasing the American canning industry’s tinned foodstuffs. Nevertheless, expertise at home crafts won high honors at the annual fairs in the 19th century.  In 1858, Mrs. MargaretCrocker, who later donated her family’s fabulous art collection to Sacramento, won best exhibit at the fair–held that year in Marysville–for her dried pears, quinces, and canned fruits. The next year, when the Agricultural Fair was held in Sacramento, Margaret won a first premium for both her canned and dried fruits, and second place for her raisins, homemade catsup, and pickles. Her stepdaughter Mary, just eleven, won a silver medal for domestic wheat bread. Today homemade canned and baked goods still win medals and ribbons at the State Fair with entries that draw the admiration of professional, and amateur, cooks and bakers.

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