Food and Nutrition: The fair is a great place to try new food
Posted: 07/16/2012 at 1:15 am
Food & Nutrition
As I write this column we have at least had a break in the hot weather. Our area and much of the Midwest are still dealing with extreme drought conditions and this will continue to affect food prices in the future for a variety of reasons.
On the lighter side of life, it is summer and that means county fair time in the Midwest. The weather is always an issue when it comes to fairs: Too hot is not good, chilly is not good either except for the livestock, and too much rain is also a problem. I know right now we just need rain and we need it to rain slowly so the soil can absorb it.
A part of the fair is the food; I know many people come to the fair just for the food. Several of my friends have fair food plans for what local food they are going to enjoy on certain days. When it comes to the Elkhart County 4-H Fair, one of my friends always makes his trip to the 4-H Saddle Club for a bratwurst sandwich.
I think the fair is a wonderful time to plan for sharing food. Sharing means you get to taste and try more foods. What is so nice about eating at the 4-H club and service club stands is that they put the money they earn back into our community. I couldn’t possibly write about all the foods offered by the 4-H Clubs and service clubs in our community but I am going to give it a good lick-of-the-fingers try.
I am not writing in a favorite order, but am starting down what we fair junkies call “Food Row,” at the beginning of Locust Street. First, the Rabbit Club has some of the greenest and healthiest food that you will find on the 4-H Fairgrounds. They offer rabbit/bunny BBQ, green salads and more healthy foods. The rabbit meat for their booth is donated from many of their members’ meat rabbits that don’t meet show requirements. A favorite of many at the fair is more than one visit to the “Pork Producers” for a pork chop of some kind, a pork burger, or a ham sandwich. Once you have had your pork chop you can just walk across the street to the Dairy Bar and have some dessert or one of the most economical food choices at the fair: the grilled cheese sandwich.
If you want to have breakfast there are two or three choices. The only air-conditioned food choice is the Eastern Star and they have some good biscuits and gravy. After breakfast they offer meals and sandwiches. The Cattlemen’s Association offers a rib-eye steak sandwich. Eating at the fair is often about meat as next is 4-H Lamb Club and they are known for their lemon shake-up treat. They are also known for lamb burgers and lamb chops. Next to them is Crystal Valley Exchange Club, which offers a popular taco and their famous walking taco.
Next we cross the street to a shared building of the 4-H Goat Club, Goshen Noon Kiwanis and PSI Iota XI Sorority. The Kiwanis’ main draw is the grilled burger and they are famous for their one-pound burger and sweet corn. The 4-H Goat Club features Mexican food with frozen beverages. The sorority has fresh, locally made pizza. Now we can walk to the other side of the street and have some great fresh grilled pancakes from Elkhart County Exchange club. Staying on that side of the street, we can visit the Elkhart Noon Exchange Club with buffalo burgers and wraps. The volunteers at Elkhart Noon Optimist prepare fish, catfish and tenderloins. Along the way is also the Star Light Chapter 181 that is known for their sloppy joes. Right on the corner is Kappa Kappa Kappa and they have fresh pies and ice cream.
When you round the corner onto Rotary Boulevard and walk a little you will come to the newest 4-H club concession stand and this is the Dairy Feeder Club serving Amish haystacks. On Tractor Pull Thursday, they’ll be doing a breakfast haystack. Across the road and next to the grandstand is the 4-H Junior Leaders stand and they have the best popcorn at the fair as well as hot dogs and beverages. If you cross the road and walk down just a little on the opposite side is the 4-H Saddle Club and they have baked oatmeal, fruit, hamburgers and bratwurst.
There are also commercial food vendors and they will have some new items but my purpose was to really whet your appetite so you get really hungry and come to the fair to eat.
So see you at the fair and enjoy the food!
Mary Ann Lienhart-Cross is an Extension educator in consumer family science. Write to her at 17746 E. C.R. 34, Goshen, IN 46528; call 533-0554; fax 533-0254; or email email@example.com.