Betty Coblentz started out with pecan pie and then proceeded through samples of apple, cherry, rhubarb, blueberry and oatmeal.
“The oatmeal pie seemed to have a little bit of everything in it,” she said. “I liked the taste of the coconut.”
Somewhere in the midst of Monday's pie tasting Coblentz, judge of the pie and candy sections at the Ottawa County Free Fair, veered into the cobblers and sampled peach, the lone entry among the cobblers.
“You just have to pace yourself and take your time,” Coblentz said. “You can't hurry.”
So, after finishing a small sliver of pie from each of the 17 pies, and the peach cobbler started in on the candies. By the end of her 50 minute judging period, Coblentz had patiently tasted, and occasionally savored, divinity, peanut brittle, chocolate covered peanut clusters and fudge, both chocolate and peanut butter.
“Your going to be sweet for a week or two anyway,” said Carolyn Garren, of Miami, an Ottawa County baker and canner who volunteered Monday to place goodies in front of Coblentz.
“I don't think I'll be able to cook supper tonight,” said Coblentz before taking another sip from her second bottle of water. “I'm just too full.”
Coblentz, 67, and a farm wife from rural Pryor, has been judging the pie and candy sections of county fairs and other contests for 40 years. She takes training courses through home community education groups organized through Oklahoma State University extension offices. Up to five times a year she judges at county fairs in northeast Oklahoma.
“Taste is always the most important,” she said. “That has to come first and then I look at color. In a pie, I also like a flaky crust, not one that hasn't been cooked enough. In candies, after taste I look for texture and firmness and if someone has all that and then goes an puts a little extra work in it, they've usually got a winner.