Fair Highlights: Award-Winning Tractors and Blue-Ribbon Muffins

Latham Hi-Tech Seeds was well represented in Grandpa’s Tractor Cruise on Wednesday, July 14, during the 151st Franklin County Fair in Hampton, Iowa.  Latham® soybean grower Vernon Van Horn of Latimer earned “Best Original Tractor.” Of the more than 25 entries, Gary Bennett of Latimer was awarded a trophy for Best Restoration.

Gary, who has worked at Latham Seeds for 25 years, obviously applies the same patience, care and attention to detail when restoring tractors as he does to researching soybeans. He’s spent the past two years working to restore this 1953 Super M Farmall; Gary first learned to drive a Farmall that same year on his parents’ farm.

County fairs create fond memories for folks of all ages.  As a 4-H alumna, I can’t help but remember the countless hours I spent getting both my livestock and food projects ready.  I baked batch after batch of cookies and muffins just to get enough – evenly browned, perfectly shaped and uniform in size – to fill a plate.

To this day, I find myself going through these same steps if I’m hosting company or delivering food as a neighborly gesture.  Thank goodness the ready-to-bake Nestle Tollhouse® cookies are consistent, or else I’d probably find myself going through these same neurotic steps just to serve my kids an afternoon snack!  (If you feel up the challenge, you can link to the original Nestle Tollhouse cookie recipe here:  http://www.verybestbaking.com/recipes/specialty/nth-detail-occc.aspx)

On a more serious note – in honor of the life skills I gained through 4-H and in recognition of the new generation this organization continues to serve – today I’d like to share with you the first muffin recipe that I entered at my county fair.  What a feeling of accomplishment I gained when I received that blue ribbon!

Now you can be the judge: try this recipe and let me know whether it meets your blue-ribbon standards.  Also feel free to share with me your own award-winning recipes or your favorite county fair memories.

Chocolate Chip Muffins



  • 2 c. all-purpose biscuit baking mix (Bisquick)
  • ¼ c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate (I prefer mini chips)



  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease or paper-line 12 (2 ½-inch) muffin cups.
  3. In large bowl, combine baking mix, sugar, egg and milk.
  4. Beat 30 seconds.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Fill muffin cups ¾ full with batter.
  7. Bake 15-17 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Serve warm.
  8. (NOTE:  My kids prefer these made in mini muffin tins; adjust baking time to about 8 minutes.)


Photo from AllRecipes.com