Sue Harder could have a wall of ribbons in her house if she chose to display her successes at the Pemberville Free Fair.
It was her peach pie that brought home top honors this year.
She added a Best of Show ribbon to her collection.
Harder’s peach pie is beautiful to behold, with its lattice crust darkened by the cinnamon sugar she sprinkles on top before baking.
A regular pie crust can be used if a lattice crust seems too difficult.
For the fair, Harder also entered 20 different vegetables and ended up with 16 ribbons.
She admitted that is common since she moved to her Sugar Ridge Road home 15 years ago.
“We’ve been active in the Pemberville Fair since we’ve lived here,” Harder said.
A garden stretches the length of the property, and she cans much of what she harvests. This year, they have canned 53 quarts of green beans, 31 quarts of V8 juice, 21 quarts of regular tomato juice, and 18 bags of sweet corn for the freezer.
Harder was preparing to make stuffed peppers to use all the peppers in her garden.
She makes many of her meals from scratch.
“There’s not much I don’t make,” she said.
But pies are Harder’s favorite.
“I make a lot of pies,” including a zucchini pie that tastes just like apple.
People ask her how many apples she puts in the pie. The answer is none.
When you slice a zucchini after taking the seeds out, it looks just like an apple slice. It’s the spices that give it the apple pie flavor, Harder said.
The peach pie recipe came from the Betty Crocker cookbook, but she said she put her own twist on it.
She added the Jell-O to create a more of a peachy flavor. She got the idea from a rhubarb-raspberry pie recipe that uses rhubarb and raspberry Jell-O.
“It just gives it a better flavor, I think.”
Harder also entered a cherry pie in the fair competition and won first place.
She both cooks and bakes but said that she does a lot of baking. For coffee hour at her church in Genoa, she will take 10 pies.
Harder moved to the area after getting married and has driven bus for Eastwood Local Schools for 24 years.
She said she’ll look at a recipe, then throw in extras and tweak it. Everything pretty much turns out OK, with very few mishaps.
Her mom did all the cooking while Harder was growing up. She was older when she got married and surprised her husband by just taking over in the kitchen.
She has many of her mom’s recipes and follows them to the letter, “pretty much.”
This is Harder’s first Best of Show for her baked goods, but she got the prize previously for a baby blanket she crocheted. She crochets larger blankets for people in her family who get married.