How to Judge a Potato

Learn how to start your own team for the Farm Show 4-H Potato Judging Contest!

A 2018 participant looks at potatoes.  Photo by Jeanette Stackhouse

A 2018 participant looks at potatoes. Photo by Jeanette Stackhouse

Are you looking for something new and unique to try in 4-H? This event is definitely for you!

The PA 4-H Potato Judging Contest will be held at the PA Farm Show on January 8, 2019. The event will begin at 9 am, and end at approximately 4 pm. Registrations must be sent to Kelly () by December 28, 2018.

Details for the contest are listed in Department 16 of the PA Farm Show Premium book.

What do you need to know?

How many kids on a team?

  • Teams consist of 3-4 youth. The top three scores are used. Contestants can compete as individuals as well (no team score, just individual score).

Do they have to give reasons like other contests?

  • NO!!! No oral or written reasons!

Are there junior and senior aged teams? What types of classes are there?
The classes are not by age (4-H ages 5-18 are welcome). We have three types: Cloverbud, Regular, and Honors.

  • Cloverbuds can participate (with a helper for reading or writing if necessary), and will receive a participation ribbon, but are not scored. 
  • The Regular groups are broken down by A and B teams. Each county can have only 1 A team and as many B teams as they’d like. Typically the contestants on the A teams are the more advanced members while B team members are still practicing. 
  • Members from the winning A team are not allowed to participate in the Regular groups in future years. They move up to Honors! Honors contestants participate as individuals only and have a few additional classes to judge/place.

What types of classes do they judge?
For the Regular and Cloverbud contests they judge:

  • 2 classes of plates (5 potatoes per plate, 4 plates per classes); looking for uniformity on a plate
  • Grading 100 potatoes (do they make grade or not); based on grading qualifications will they be sold in the market?
  • Identifying defects on 40 potatoes; word bank provided.

For the Honors contests they judge:

  • All of the above
  • Guessing weights of 2 large potatoes
  • 2 additional plate classes of potatoes
  • Premium Pack selection (choosing the 10 best out of 30)

What resources are available?
Contact Kelly Weisner for resources:

  • Power point to learn defects
  • Power Point to test defects
  • Links for color USDA resources
  • Worksheets from contest