A pecan pie described as “perfection” and with the “best crust ever” took it all at the Third Annual Luther Pecan Festival on November 16, 2019. Valerie Jones’ pecan pie took first in the Pecan Pie Division, and narrowly won the Grand Champion category as well. This pecan pie captured the prize for the biggest bragging right from reigning champ Pete Newsom and his pecan smoked chicken in 2018. Sabrena Goley’s pie won the inaugural Grand Champion status in 2017.
Jones received a custom cutting board fashioned by Dusty Hutchison of Archaic Provisions, fresh pecans and other gifts from the generous artists, vendors and Luther merchants who donated to the effort.
Jones credits her pie baking skills to technique, and lots of practice. It also might be in the family, her mother was a Grand Champion pie baker at their county fair. Jones said she loved the science aspect of pie-baking, using chemistry to get that flaky crust. When she graduated from college, her mom turned over the Thanksgiving pie baking to her for the family gathering, and finds herself making about 50 pies or so for family and friends.
“Everyone is always glad to see you when you bring pie,” she said. When not baking Jones, of Edmond, is homeschooling her 11-year-old daughter and twin eight-year-old boys. She said the whole family had a great time at the festival and is happy her mother encouraged her to enter the contest after she found out about while shopping in Luther a few weeks back.
2019 Luther Pecan Festival Cookoff Results
Pecan Pie Division
1st Place: Valerie Jones and GRAND CHAMPION
2nd Place: June Ginn
3rd Place: Susan Craft
Pecan Sweet Division
1st Place: Amy Durst
Judge’s comment: “Her unique and creative cookies were so close to grand champion status that the judges had a hard time deciding.”
2nd Place: Audra Lehew
3rd Place: Lisa Boydston
Pecan Savory Division
1st Place: Kelly Danner, the judges thought this unique bitter had a great flavor.
The Pecan Festival Cook-off is organized by Sheila Farmer and benefits her nonprofit organization, 4 Our Community. Entry fees from the cook-off, auction, raffle and sales help purchase supplies for Luther teachers and students.
“Prizes for the winners were donated by some of the best local businesses a small town could have as well as pecan farms that attended the festival. Thank you to everyone,” said Farmer.
Donations for the cook-off provided by Rustic Farm, Urban 66, Beth’s Baubles and Bits, Benson Park Pecans, Miller Pecans and Deep Fork Pecans. Special thanks again to Boydston Bailey Funeral Home and Main St. Nutrition for hosting the cook-off.
Special thanks also to Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert and Miss Eastern Oklahoma County Mid-Del Teen Bella Brown for announcing the winners. And to Josh Smith of Opus Entertainment for hosting and entertainment.
Special thanks to the esteemed judge’s panel that included local celebrities, journalists, podcasters, chefs and food writers, along with professional, hobby and home chefs and bakers.
“Thank you to everyone that made this possible and be sure to let the judges know they are appreciated. A huge thank you goes to Amber Tytenicz for helping to get the entries ready for the judges. She made the process so much better,” said Farmer.
2019 Luther Pecan Festival Judges
Barry Gunn, Rob Shinn, Scott Mitchell, Kandyce Mitchell, Greg Horton, Lance Tibbetts, Larry Pickering, Lydia Shelton, Brian Richards, Cindy Bittle, Sherry Mulkey and Phillis McGrew.
More From 4 Our Community
And the Winner of the beef is, Dave and Carol Koeneke. They won the quarter-side of beef donated by Petermann Farms for the 4 Our Community raffle.
After receiving the congratulatory message from Farmer, Mr. Koeneke replied: “Wife and I were excited to have attended our first Pecan Festival after moving into the area last year. How fun that we won a gift on our 1st time out!”
Farmer said through the raffle along, more than $1,000 was raised.
I would like to acknowledge the hard work of everyone manning the booth, selling tickets and helping with anything we needed. We had teachers, parents and high school STUCO members that volunteered to make this fundraiser a success. Sasha Wilson, Luther graduate, donated her time to us as well. She is the best sales person, information distributor, communicator, and all around nice person. Teri Tulane and Sandra Hiatt came to help with anything we asked and Sandra made a beautiful necklace to donate for the raffle. I also heard that Michele Gould was in the booth pitching in where needed. Josh Smith was a tremendous asset to the cook-off and raffle announcements. None of this would be possible without Dawn Shelton and her hard working volunteers. Thank you Dawn for an even bigger and better festival this year!
My family Steven Farmer, Beth Farmer, Jennifer and Derek Herrs, and the little salesman Mack Herrs, make this possible. Their tireless efforts weeks before and on the day of the festival are appreciated more than I can say. This could not be done without their support. And we can’t forget Amy and Chris Petermann that donated the beef.
The following artists, vendors, members of our community and other extremely generous individuals donated items this year. We so appreciate each one for helping our program.
Benson Park Pecans
Deep Fork Pecans
Karon’s Unique Casings
Delightful Scratch Made
Barking Dog Bakery
6 Acre Bees
Timber Glass Creative
Bella Marie’s Boutique
405 Mobile Boutique
7 Acre Farms