Catty man is ready for Allentown fair
Quietly tucked away at the end of Sherman Street in Catasauqua is a treasure of a residential lot that produces award-winning, colorful and sweet-smelling flowers and a wide variety of vegetables.
The homeowner, Joseph Veshinfsky, tends to a large garden that produces award-winning entries at The Great Allentown Fair.
Veshinfsky said he has been submitting fair entries the past 10 to 15 years. On average, Veshinfsky said, he has won up to 50 ribbons yearly.
According to Veshinfsky, who is now 60, his family made it a yearly ritual to attend the fair, set to open this year Aug. 29.
“I always wanted to enter items,” he said.
Growing up with grandparents and parents who had gardens eventually blossomed into an interest in doing the same.
“I just wanted somewhere where I could grow my own stuff,” Veshinfsky said.
Over the years, he has entered awarding-winning tomatoes, peppers, onions, green beans, lima beans, potatoes, zucchini and cucumbers, as well as dahlias, marigolds, coleus and petunias.
His favorite entry categories of competition, he said, are the tomatoes, peppers and dahlias.
The most competitive category, he added, is for tomatoes.
Over the years, he has won five Best of Show awards: in 2006, in the cut flower competition, for a single dahlia; in 2010, in the same competition, for a floribunda rose; in 2013, for an arrangement of dahlias; and also in 2013, for a vegetable market basket.
He also won a Best of Show for eggs he entered last year.
A Penn State master gardener, he is humble about his winning ways. He said his success is due in part to the techniques he has learned and developed over the years.
Veshinfsky plants his garden in raised beds and mulches with plastic.
“That let’s me get an early start in the spring,” he said.
His numerous entries this year will soon be packed up for delivery to the Agri-Plex building at the fairgrounds, one trip for the potted plants and vegetables and another the cut flowers.
There’s little doubt that a number of Veshinfsky’s submissions will win the approval of the judges once again this year. Preparing for it is something that keeps him happy all summer.
“I really enjoy working in the garden,” he said.