Judge Bud Bowers gives pointers on what makes a champion vegetable while examining entries at the Hardin County Fair. Bowers has participated and judged several county fair fruits and vegetable contests for many years. (Ada Herald/Darla Crownhart)
Judge Bud Bowers gives pointers on what makes a champion vegetable while examining entries at the Hardin County Fair. Bowers has participated and judged several county fair fruits and vegetable contests for many years. (Ada Herald/Darla Crownhart)

KENTON — Bud Bowers judged the vegetable entries Tuesday afternoon at the Hardin County Fair. He has participated at several county fairs including Van Wert, Allen, Auglaize and Hardin and served as an agricultural and horticultural superintendent at the 2015 Allen County Fair.

Bowers claimed he became serious about produce when he entered 53 contenders and won 29 first places. As he inspected a squash he explained the requirements for a champion veggie.

“First of all you don’t want any blemishes on here or any marks. You want the right shape, the right color,” he said, turning to hand over an entry to his assistant, remarking he would give it a first.

Also known by some as a master gardener, Bowers works in about a quarter of an acre plot. When asked what is the secret of producing the perfect produce, he pointed out on an acorn squash, the small orange discoloration contrasting the dark green skin. “I’ll go out in the garden, and I do it with watermelon,” Bowers said. “I turn them, so the sun hits this.”