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Food contest is not a piece of cake

Madeline Roche • Aug 14, 2018 at 9:00 AM

The Huron County Fair wouldn’t be fair without food.

A food contest featuring a variety of categories took place Monday, the fair’s opening day.

Throughout the judging, plates of samples were put out for fair-goers to enjoy. 

Winners are selected in each of the categories, which included baking, canning and decorative cakes, along with other classes. Entries included cookies, brownies, breads, muffins, pies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, candy, fudge and more. 

“We had a lot of new exhibiters this year,” Rachel Buurma said. “In general, we usually have approximately 40.”

Buurma, of Willard, serves as the open class foods superintendent. She organizes the event.   

Buurma’s favorite category is yeast breads.

This year, judging took 2 1/2 hours for the three judges. The length of time varies from year to year, depending on who does the judging.

Buurma said she finds people with experience to judge. This year, the judges were from the Crawford County 4-H extension program.

One of them, Allison Cooper, of Crawford County, said judging was harder than she thought it would be.

“Everyone’s food has been really good. Definitely a lot of hard work was put into this,” said Cooper, a first-year judge.

Cooper said her favorite category was tart pies.

“They [tart pies] were very unique. I had never seen that before,” Cooper said. 

Exhibiter Danielle Conley, of Collins, entered her “Hummingbird Cake,” which is a cinnamon cream cheese cake, in the “other cakes” category. 

She said she makes this recipe often, but decided to enter it to follow in her mother’s footsteps. 

“My mom used to enter so I decided I would try it this year,” Conley said. 

She said it took her about two hours to complete. 

Some exhibiters entered multiple categories. 

Tom Root, of Norwalk, prepared white yeast bread, honey yeast bread, honey whole wheat and two cakes. One cake was a pistachio yogurt coffee cake and the other is called “Preacher Cake,” which is mostly a pineapple base. 

Root put a lot of work into preparing for the contest.

“I fill up the kitchen with loaves of bread that I’ve baked and then decided, ‘No this isn’t good enough,’” Root said. 

Root brought his best work to the fair.

“These are the best I could produce. These folks will decide whether they’ll be winners,” Root said about the judges. 

This is his second year entering this contest. He entered “to try something new.”

“We’ve always entered photography and we enter vegetables and I thought since there was a men-only category, I could do that,” Root said. 

Root has branched out to other categories, for more of a challenge. 

“It’s one thing to go against very few men [in the men only category], but In the bread categories, I’m going up against the ‘varsity,’” he said.

The “Best of Show” first-place winners were: Mary Bauer, of Norwalk, in the baking category; Suzanne Bacon, of Greenwich, in the decorating cakes category; and Jodi Moehlman, of Collins, in the canning category. Winners received a ribbon and monetary prize. 

There will be another round of judging for the Baking Class (Q) at 1 p.m. Wednesday. 

Anyone interested in entering next year should bring entries to the fair office by July 31 and pick up a fair book to decide which category to enter. 

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