Stocking the Cupboard at the State Fair Food & Fiber Pavillion

Disclaimer: Let me preface the following by saying that I was raised by Pennsylvania Dutch parents, which explains a lot about what I’m about to say:

When I was growing up, the list of what my parents “didn’t believe in” (mayonnaise, private cars, food made by strangers, and tuna from a can) was almost as long as the list of what they actively feared (avocados, botulism, spices of all kinds, and activities that attracted more than four people). That being said, both going to the State Fair and eating spicy foods were completely out of the question.  (My only experience of going to a Fair came in 1976 when our elderly neighbors staged a  pity-abduction and took my brother and me in the back of their wood-paneled Travelall.  Sidenote: once we got there, I was both too thrilled and too afraid to eat anything.)

So, imagine the illicit charge I got (as both a food writer and Fair virgin) as I noshed my way through the tastings at last night’s Fair Food sneak peek in the Food & Fiber Pavillion. From this year’s bumper crop of  TX commestibles, three standouts made my list for best bets for stocking the goodie-corner of my pantry.

  • Luscombe Farms’ Jalepeno Peach and Sweetfire Confetti jellies. Creator/owner Leslie Luscombe’s zippy condiments won Best in Show and People’s Choice awards at this year’s Zest Fest.
  • In a Pickle sweet and hot pickle slices. I’m dressing burgers  with them as soon as I finish typing this.
  • Bugtussle Burn salsa, a sweet salsa with a sexy back end.
  • Alberto’s relish, a julienned catch-all condiment that could end up being a pantry staple in my house.

Since most of these products are brand-spanking new (some only a few months-old) their year-round distribution is limited. So, consider this your opportunity to stock up at the pavillion’s  foodie store. As for me, I’ll be busy overcompensating – standing in the middle of a crowd and eating spicy guacamole made by complete strangers while I wait for them to take me for a ride in their car.


  • Julie

    You certainly don’t read about this side if State Fair food any more. So you can actually buy the stuff there at the Fair? I didn’t even know that. Nice information and article.

  • Amy S

    “Fair virgin”, weren’t we all? Love it.

  • I do stock up!! We get almost a years supply of rubs and marinades every year there! This year I’m planning on grabbing a mint of Bugtussle Burn!

    Don’t eat for a week before you go to the Texas State Fair, then once you’re your weight in corny dogs, funnel cakes and the weird new crazy fried foods. I’m gonna try the fried pop tart this year!!

  • Judy

    Obviously being Pennsylvania Dutch didn’t warp your taste buds. Spicy is what it’s all about. My family loves Bugtussle Burn. We are lucky enough to know the cook. If you’re worried about the “heat”, pour it over a block of cream cheese. Heaven!!

  • Luscombe Farm makes the best jams and jellies in Texas, maybe the country. My favorite is still the garlic jalepeno. I give their gift baskets to my family, friends and business customers. They are a great value and the quality is ALWAYS amazing.

  • laurie

    Julie, the Food and Fiber Pavilion has, for as long as I can remember, a store that sells all sorts of Texas-made items from food to soap. The whole building is devoted to Texas industries like honey, cotton and dairy. Elsie the cow is there along with a 3-month-old calf named Beauregard. It’s always been one of my favorite places to go.
    On Saturday we sampled delicious fudge, quesadillas, burgers, soup, and lots of relishes/salsas. Not one thing was fried. Go early and make sure you check the Fair guide for times.

  • Inga

    We can’t wait! SO glad to see you spreading the word about the Food & Fiber Pavillion offerings at the State Fair. It’s our FAVORITE part of the fair. YUMMM. Old favorites make appearances, but discovering new delights is the highlight! Bugtussle Burn is a new favorite of ours. Everytime we serve it to guests, they’re officially hooked. We DID discover that buying one jar at a time was just plain CRAZY though! We’re devoted to “by the case” purchases now that the word is out at our house! Thanks for the awesome article!

  • Rebecca Luff

    Luscombe Farms not only makes the best jams and jellies, they also make the best candy. Try the Peppermint and Key Lime candies, my favorites. Luscombe Farms has been the go to place for client and family gifts as well as party giveaways. I can’t say enough great things about Luscombe Farms’ food products and gift baskets.

  • Sarah- thanks for stopping by our Bugtussle Burn tasting. So glad you liked it! I want everyone to know what a fantastic job GO TEXAN does promoting all us folks making & marketing our Texas goodies! I can’t wait to taste the other jellies, pickles, & relishes you mentioned! Thanks again, Jan Allen (Mrs. Bug Burn-to my friends!!)

  • Bill Gant

    I agree with the comments on the Luscomb Farm products. The jelly on a peanut butter sandwich is just delicious. Every one of the Luscomb Farm products I have tried has been outstanding.

  • Debbie Ferguson

    Leslie’s jellies are unbelievably delicious – especially the new flavors, Blackberry Jalapeno, Blueberry Jalapeno, Sweet Fire Confetti, etc. But, my favorite remains the original jalapeno jelly, which really is “The Best Jalapeno Jelly in Texas.” My new favorite recipe using it is Jalapeno Sweet Tea. Check out her website and run, don’t walk, to her store. She also does catering events, pies, and homemade candy. One of these days in the not-so-distant future, we’ll all be able to say we knew her when, before she was famous, because that’s exactly where she’s headed.