5. Easy on the Eyes. In the example of the large pineapple display, the produce manager was careful to flank each side with equal linear footage for complimentary tie-in items. For example, if your contest space is thirty feet across, consider putting your primary item dead-center, say twenty feet, leaving five feet on either side for a color-break item(s). Think of the display like good landscaping: It’s easy on the eyes, with elements of color, size, and varying textures to bring out the best in the display. Envision, for another example, a row of spring-related items: Asparagus and artichokes split with a lemon display for color and seasoning suggestion, or a cluster setup of ripe tomatoes, flanked with fresh or potted basil and an elevated platform of those same lemons or garlic. Above all, plan for the focus to be on the star commodity, neatly stacked and culled.
6. Tie-ins are a typically a must-have. Again, you should refer to the rules of the contest for this important step. Often, a supplier or commodity board will partner with another produce (or non-produce) item for the contest. Ensure that you plan to use the correct item or items. Even if this isn’t a requirement, it’s a typically a good idea (or even a practical necessity) to include other items in the display for the contest. Just make sure these make sense, such as the garlic-with-tomatoes suggestion. To contrast, you probably would not pair those same bushels of garlic with, say, an orange display.
7. The all-important photo — A great fresh produce contest display needs a good quality photo to attract the judge’s eye. If you aren’t a good photographer, chances are good that someone in your circle of friends is at least competent. Complete your display before the store opens, if at all possible, when things are quiet and you have time to make last-moment adjustments to the display. Take photos from several different angles, and make sure the lighting is good to avoid poor exposure or shadows. Take note to clean up even minor details ahead of time. You don’t want to turn in a photo that shows a broom in the way or have a camera bag or water bottle in the shot. Once you’ve determined which photos are just right, send everything promptly either by email or snail mail so the judges can see your creativity at its very best.