‘It Was My Year’: Patton Wife’s Pie Wins Blue Ribbon at Pa. Farm Show | Local News


It all started over a decade ago when Sharon Karlheim presented her baked goods at the Harmony Grange Fair competition near Westover, Clearfield County.

“I’ve always been a good baker,” Karlheim said at her Patton home. “I decided once: why not? Why not try ?

She didn’t win a ribbon, but she kept trying, developing her skills, expanding her repertoire, and setting new goals.

Last weekend, she achieved two of her latest goals, winning a blue ribbon for best apple pie and a white ribbon for third place in the Incredible Angel Food Cake contest at the Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg.

With its latest victories, Karlheim has now received a ribbon in all three of the farm show’s featured baked goods competitions. She had previously taken second place for her chocolate cake.

The road has been long.

A graduate of Harmony High School, Karlheim knew the Harmony Grange Fair well. The exhibition center is next to the school complex.

When her first attempt at the baking competition failed to produce a ribbon, she returned the next year and the next. The ribbons started arriving, and soon Karlheim received her first blue ribbon for a chocolate cake.

“It qualified me to participate in the agricultural competition,” she said. “I was all excited. I thought I could go down there. I won at the fair – I could win at the agricultural fair. Well, it’s not like that. When you get to the agricultural exhibition, it’s a whole new ball game.

Competing with first place winners from fairs across the state was overwhelming, at first, but Karlheim kept going, branching out to compete in the American Legion Cambria County Fair competition.

In order to qualify for the Pennsylvania Farm Show contest for best apple pie, chocolate cake, and angel food cake, bakers must earn a blue ribbon at one of the recognized local or county farm fairs.

One year she swept the Cambria County Fair competition, winning blue ribbon in all three categories.

“When I won first place in those three categories, I was thrilled to say the least,” Karlheim said.

Each first place brought another trip to the farm show.

Karlheim has qualified for the state pageant in all three categories since 2012. If the blue ribbons don’t all come to the Cambria County Fair, she’s preparing a new batch for the annual Cookport Fair near Commodore, In Indiana County.

If necessary, she enters the Salon de l’Harmonie again.

“I always participate in something at the harmony fair,” she said. “It’s my home fair.”

Participating in fairs is part of the whole experience. She and her husband, Regis Karlheim, both grew up on farms and enjoy spending time together at fairs.

“We love going to fairs,” she said. “We try to create a new one every year.”

Regis Karlheim particularly enjoys pulling tractors and trucks while cheering on his wife in the baking contest.

“My husband is my biggest supporter,” she said. “I couldn’t do it without him.”

Her persistence in preparing entries for local fairs and trips back to the state competition paid off at the 2014 farm show, when she won a red ribbon, second place in the chocolate cake competition. for its six-layer chocolate, peanut butter and marshmallow cake.

Return trips earned him ribbons for his apple pie in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

“It kind of gets in your blood once you win and then win again at the agricultural show level,” Karlheim said. “My first goal was to go to the agricultural show. Then my goal became: get every possible color ribbon in one of those categories. »

After the chocolate cake victory in 2014, her goal was to get ribbons in all three categories, while hoping for a blue ribbon.

It takes more than a delicious pie to win blue. There are points for crust, moisture and creativity.

Karlheim said she gets a lot of points for her creativity. This year’s Blue Ribbon award had a multi-coloured, intricately woven crust stitched together to represent a basket of apples.

“It has to be pretty too,” she said. “If you are going to participate in the agricultural exhibition, you really have to dress up, because you eat with your eyes first.”

But the presentation is only the beginning.

“At the end of the day, you really have to have a good pie,” Karlheim said.

Her recipe blended three different apple varieties and a crust that included vodka for better crumbliness. She partially pre-bakes the apples ahead of time to make sure they don’t cook while cooking and leave a space under the crust.

Karlheim’s entries at the Cambria County Fair always attract attention, said Janalee Schilling, who oversees the competition.

“They’re phenomenal,” Schilling said. “She does extremely well every year. She pays attention to detail. We are very proud to have her represent our fair at the farm show.

For his part, Karlheim said years of hard work were worth it.

“It was my year for Blue Ribbon: Best Pie in Pennsylvania,” she said. “I’m honoured. It was hard to get there, but I did it.


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