Northern New York Newspapers
NNY Business
NNY Living
Wed., Oct. 7
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
Related Stories

50th Dairy Princess coronation to welcome the new and old


Janet Ellingworth Sears is practicing her “say cheese” smile for Friday’s 50th annual Jefferson County dairy princess coronation ceremony.

“I wasn’t able to attend my 50th high school reunion, so this is going to kind of take its place,” Mrs. Sears said last week from her home in Plant City, Fla.

The 1961 graduate of Adams Center High School was the first Jefferson County dairy princess to be chosen at a competition, held in 1964. The county’s first dairy princess was appointed in 1963. That former princess, Lonetta Swartout, a 1963 Indian River Central School graduate who now lives in Cooperstown, Otsego County, also was a Jefferson County Fair queen and Pomona Grange queen. She was selected by dairy officials in Jefferson County to compete in the state contest for the American Dairy Association princess held in Syracuse.

Like in past years, the new dairy princess to be crowned Friday will be able to vie for the New York state dairy princess title in February. The Watertown Noon Rotary Club has donated a $500 college scholarship to the county princess for several years.

All past Jefferson County dairy princesses have been invited to Friday’s coronation at the Fireside at Partridge Berry Inn, 26561 State Route 3. Those attending the banquet made reservations last month. Mrs. Swartout, who operates Cooperstown Stay, a rental agency for lodging in the Cooperstown area, won’t be able to attend.

Coronation officials at the Jefferson County Agricultural Promotion Board, which hosts the yearly event, said 17 past princesses have confirmed they will attend.

The banquet also will honor the past year’s dairy princess, Kristia N. Otey, a senior at Belleville Henderson Central School, and dairy ambassadors for promoting dairy.

Two girls are competing to be named the 2013 Jefferson County dairy princess. They are:

n Krystle M. Burger, the daughter of Michael and Kris Burger of Adams. She has just completed her second year as a Jefferson County dairy ambassador.

She has competed in 4-H judging and numerous FFA events. She was chosen to participate in the Dairy Prospects program this year through Cornell Cooperative Extension. The program is for high school students interested in pursuing a career in the dairy industry.

Krystle, a sophomore at Belleville Henderson Central School, is an honors student, earned through subjects such as chemistry, global studies, Spanish 10 algebra/trigonometry and English 10.

She plays clarinet in the high school band and is a member of Whiz Quiz. She is in advanced jazz and tap dance at Northern Lights Dance Company in Watertown. She also enjoys turkey hunting with her father.

n Casey S. Porter, the daughter of Greg and Lisa Porter of Watertown. Her family owns and operates Porterdale Farms Inc., where she raises her herd of 10 registered Jersey cattle and feeds pre-weaned calves.

Casey is a junior at South Jefferson Central School, Adams, where she participates in Key Club and Spanish Club. She is a member of the South Jefferson FFA.

She also serves as president of the Jefferson County Junior Holstein Club and Jefferson County 4-H Dairy Club.

Casey is captain of the Honeyville Baptist Church puppet ministry team and volunteers at the South Jefferson Wilson Elementary Good News Club. This is her second year as a member of the dairy princess court. Last year she served as an ambassador.

n n n

Mrs. Sears, the 1964 princess, is the daughter of Charles and Mary Ellingworth. The family farm was on Massey Street Road.

“We had the Hounsfield sign in our front yard,” she recalled.

Charles Ellingsworth, who died in 2000, was a co-founder of Jefferson Bulk Milk Cooperative. Mrs. Sears had two older brothers and a younger sister.

“I was not too much involved in the care of the cattle,” Mrs. Ellingsworth said.

But she was active in 4-H work and Kiwanis shows. Like all dairy princesses, Mrs. Sears was required to travel around the area to promote the dairy industry at parades, fairs, farm meetings, school gatherings and other events.

“I was young and nervous,” Mrs. Sears said. “It was my first attempt at public speaking. I’m not sure I made a great impression. But I think everything that you do becomes a part of who you turn out to be.”

Mrs. Sears turned out to be a whiz at accounting. Her first job was in the accounting department at Watertown’s Agricultural Insurance Co. In 1989, she went to work for Sparky’s Oil Company, Plant City, a convenience store chain with 27 locations, where she served as comptroller. The company sold its locations to Circle K in 2006 but Mrs. Sears has remained on staff part time and continues handling the owners’ business finances.

She did not attended college.

“I just discovered that (accounting) was something I was good at,” she said.

She’s been married for 39 years to Ogdensburg native Gary Sears.

Ms. Swartout, the first official Jefferson County dairy princess, graduated in 1967 from Cornell University, Ithaca. Some of her graduate work included a travel-abroad program through Temple University in Philadelphia. She studied in England, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and France.

She entered the executive training program at Jordan March company in Boston, then taught home economics for four years. She went on to become the developmental trainer for New York Central Mutual Insurance Co. before going into business for herself. In addition to Cooperstown Stay, she operates Canoe & Kayak Rentals and Sales in Portlandville.

As a dairy princess, she was one of four national winners at the New York State Fair’s dairy food demonstration. She demonstrated how to make Sunburst Pie ( a cheesecake type of dessert). The recipe follows.

“I haven’t made it in a while,” Ms. Swartout said.

Lonetta Swartout’s Sunburst Pie


1 cups creamed cottage cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon plain gelatin

cup cold water

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons milk

cup sugar

cup whipping cream

2 egg whites

cup dairy sour cream

18 to 20 medium peach slices

Beat cheese with mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, lemon rind, lemon juice and salt and blend. Soften gelatin in cold water. Combine egg yolks, milk and sugar and cook, stirring constantly until thick.

Add gelatin and stir until disolved. Cool slightly. Add to cheese mixture. Fold in whipped cream and stiffly beaten egg whites. Turn into crust and chill until set.

Before serving, spread sour cream over pie and arrange peaches.


1 cups fine graham cracker crumbs

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

13 cup melted butter

One 9-inch pie plate

Mix all ingredients and press into pie plate.

Commenting rules:
  1. Stick to the topic of the article/letter/editorial.
  2. When responding to issues raised by other commenters, do not engage in personal attacks or name-calling.
  3. Comments that include profanity/obscenities or are libelous in nature will be removed without warning.
Violators' commenting privileges may be revoked indefinitely. By commenting you agree to our full Terms of Use.
Syracuse Football Tickets Giveaway
Connect with Us
OGD on FacebookOGD on Twitter