North Canterbury baking and preserving enthusiasts Edna Crawford and Ruth Wheeler have been judging and competing on the local A&P show circuit for over 50 years.

Ruth has won more cups than she can remember but despite her success she has little interest in going further afield.

"I went to Christchurch once but it was such a job getting parking that I never went back" she admits.

The rules of entry can differ from show to show so it is important to follow the cooking instructions carefully to avoid being disqualified. Last year Edna says the organisers of the Rangiora Show made a handy tweak in the carrot cake section.

"Normally in an A&P Show you have the icing down to the bottom but they did it just to the top and I think that's better because easier for carrying!"

Financial constraints have meant Edna and Ruth, who are both retired, have had to reduce the number of entries they put into shows.  Instead they spend more time behind the entry tables.

"I'm going more towards judging or helping other people than baking because it's too costly. I can tie up $100 dollars with your entry fees and then the cost of all the ingredients" Edna says.

Ruth and Edna would like cooking sections at rural shows to maintain their high standards but are worried that the 'correct ways' are not being passed on to the younger generation, so recently they held a meeting at the Sefton Domain hall to share their knowledge and passion. Ruth says the culinary gathering was a success.

"I didn't expect quite the number to turn up and they asked an awful lot of questions but I kept saying 'they must read the catalogue or the schedule!'"