OCTOBER 14th & 15th 2017. Fenner’s Apple Butter Festival promises to excite the senses with the sights, sounds, and smells of autumn. Visitors will be immersed in nature, while celebrating the harvest season and all of its history, glory and tradition. The festival is truly a community event, with visitors trying their hand at heritage games, using a cross-cut saw, and even helping to stir the apple butter. Local musicians will be serenading visitors and heritage artisans will be demonstrating their works while Pinecrest Percheron’s tug the ol’ farmstead wagon down the trail.
If this will be your first year at the Apple Butter Festival, let me share some delicious history. Produced in the fall as a means of preserving part of the apple crop, apple butter production was a community project that brought together generations of families and neighbors, who shared the work and the resulting benefits.
Apple butter is essentially made similar to apple sauce; the big difference is cooking time. It is produced by hours of long, slow cooking of the apples with cider or water to a point where the natural sugars caramelize, turning the apple butter a deep brown. The concentration of sugar gives apple butter a much longer shelf life as a preserve than apple sauce.
Apple butter can be used as a side dish, an ingredient in baked goods, or as a condiment. And, despite the name, it contains no actual dairy “butter.” The moniker refers to the thick, soft butter-like consistency, and apple butter’s use as a spread for breads. Cinnamon, clove, and other spices add to the mouthwatering aroma and savory taste.
Over the years, thousands of school children have made the trip out to Fenner to participate in Apple Butter Tours the week before the festival. Students of all ages voyage out onto the trails and visit the historic apple orchard, where they learn about plant life cycles and the essential components that animals need to survive. They search for animal homes and discuss food, water, and space – things that animals (and people) must get from nature. Then it’s back to the Nature Center to see how apples are peeled, cored, and sliced into ‘apple smiles” before being cooked down into delicious apple butter.
Free / Suggested Donation Parking $5