Forget Martha Stewart. That Pioneer Woman? Pffft!
Purcell is blessed to have its own homemaker/cook extraordinaire.
Susie Hyde has the accolades that testify to her skills along with some impressive contest results dating back to 2009.
That’s the year she entered her salsa in a competition sponsored by Taste of Home magazine.
She aced the state contest and went on to national judging where her signature salsa finished fourth in the country.
Realizing she just might have something marketable, Hyde took her salsa and other canned products to the Robert M. Kerr Food and Agricultural Products Center at Oklahoma State University.
After testing of the products and completing training, Hyde met the state’s requirements to produce, label and sell those foods from her home.
A business, Susie’s Secret Recipes, was born. Under that umbrella, Hyde sells her canning line and homemade baked goods and also runs a small catering enterprise.
In 2017, she entered salsa, pepper mustard sauce and green tomato relish in a contest sponsored by Hobby Farms magazine.
All three canned goods placed in the top three in its category.
Then in 2019, she took the same three products and entered a Grit magazine contest.
“I placed in the top three,” she said.
That was good enough to get her an invitation to participate in the most extensive contest yet.
That contest sponsored by Country Woman magazine was to be a year-long event.
The magazine, which started in 1970, bills itself as a celebration of “the spirited group of women whose passion for the rural lifestyle comes through in their love of crafts, cooking, gardening and their dedication to home and family.”
The COVID-19 pandemic played a bit of havoc with the contest’s timing but now the results are in.
The judges were looking for someone living in a farm house – “the old white farm house types,” Hyde said – and how said house was decorated.
They wanted women who could can, bake, cook, garden and help out with the livestock.
Right up Hyde’s alley.
In April 2020, three representatives from the magazine came to Hyde’s home. They surveyed her garden and made note of such niceties as her crocheted wash cloths and dish towels, the decorated canning jars she uses for vases and her chicken coop built with framing taken from a greenhouse and topped by an old camper shell – home to a small flock of Barred Rock, Black Copper Maran and Red Lace Wyandotte hens.
As for livestock handling skills, they asked her to pick up one of her chickens.
They also watched her at work in the kitchen.
In January, Hyde got word that she was in the top 10 of 100 contestants.
That notification was followed by a virtual interview.
On July 23, she found out that she placed second in the national contest.
“They told me they were impressed with my canning line,” Hyde said. “And they would be in contact later.”
Not one to rest on her laurels, Hyde is back at work, busier than ever.
Susie’s Secret Recipes is on Facebook and Hyde plans to start a You Tube channel.
Hyde was raised on a farm and describes her mother as “Martha Stewart/ranch hand.”
With further testing at OSU to gain information for nutritional labeling, the university could help market her products.
However, Hyde is reluctant to take that step.
“They would change my recipes,” she explained.
She loves the garden and those chickens as much as the kitchen.
“I try to use what I grow,” she confirmed.
Her garden includes 60 give or take tomato vines – Roma is her favorite variety – along with 50 or so varieties of peppers. There is also squash, cucumbers, onions, carrots and more.
“I love to garden,” she said. “I am enjoying what I’m doing.”
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