On Thursday afternoon, Tammi Secor rushed from her duties as an algebra instructor at Iowa Central Community College to her rural home just north of Fort Dodge. It's grape harvest time and six acres of fruit was ripening fast on the vines.
But this morning, teaching and grape-cutting is on hold. Instead, Secor is in Des Moines, a recipient of the 2012 Iowa Master Farm Homemaker award given by Wallaces Farmer magazine.
Secor, snipping clusters of St. Croix grapes Thursday, said she learned of the honor six weeks ago and thought there was no way she was worthy. She knows a few previous Master Farm Homemakers.
-Messenger photo by Larry Kershner
Tammi Secor reaches into vines on Thursday to snip a cluster of grapes on her farm two miles north of Fort Dodge. She is scheduled today to receive a 2012 Iowa Master Farm Homemaker awards in Des Moines.
"I've heard their stories over the years," Secor said, dropping a cluster into a waiting box. "Those women are something."
This is the third time a Secor woman has received the award. Carolyn Secor, Tammi Secor's mother-in-law, received her award in 1982. Several years before that, Carolyn Secor's sister, Harriet Smith, was likewise honored.
Dr. Janet Secor, Tammi Secor's sister-in-law, said she nominated Tammi for the award because she met the criteria of a woman actively engaged in her family's farm operation, who is community-minded and interested in international relations. She said Tammi Secor was a perfect fit.
"She's a fantastic combine driver," said her son, Robert Secor, "and I'm not kidding."
His mother, he said, has never seemed intimidated by the combine, competently handling it while maintaining radio communications with the catch wagon and watching the yield monitors.
This is the fifth year the Secors, including Tammi's husband Bill Secor, have husbanded a vineyard covering six acres, marshalling the fruit of nine grape varieties, including a table grape variety - Reliance.
Robert Secor credits his mother with the health of each vine being harvested this week. He said when the vines were planted in 2008, another dry year, his mother routinely watered the vineyard,
"The plants that made it are because of her," he said.