By: Rob Anspach (Bonnie Hollinger, Barbra Minton, Jennifer Romick)
2009 applebutter weekend started off a bit touch-n-go on the wet side as cold October winds and rain greeted my son Dallas, his girlfriend Kate and I as we journeyed back into Mark and Pam Heirholzer’s woods Thursday to set up camp. After setting up mom’s trailer we decided pretty quickly to get a fire started and that we not only needed to get some tarps up to block the rain but that we could also use a few more. After a quick trip to Ansonia Lumber the tarps were stretched out from the trees, we began the process of staying dry and cooking around the fire. As evening approached we were joined by several others throughout the night.
Friday morning rolled around and Mother Nature greeted us with much more of the same weather. After a late morning breakfast Joe Ungericht and I ran to pickup cider and apples at Downings Orchard over by New Madison, Ohio. The apple smell when we walked in the barn at the orchard was truly overpowering. I’ve never wanted to eat an apple so badly in my whole life. All toll this year we used 13 bushels of 4 varieties of apples and 90 gallons of cider. Despite the rain and the cooler temperatures many of our relatives came out Friday night to find the bad weather subsiding for the weekend. Those who braved the elements gathered around the fires and under the tarps to enjoy several massive trays of ribs and other assorted goodies. Festivities continued well into the night and left yours truly as a casualty beside the fire.
Soon after and early Saturday morning the applebutter fires were started and our process of making applebutter began by boiling down the cider, coring, peeling and snitzing the apples. Everything proceeded as if we’ve done this a time or two in the past and around lunch we gathered together for a few announcements, the saying of grace and a wonderful meal compliments of the many generations of wonderful cooking traditions that run through our family. I’m always amazed by the amount of wonderful dishes—the pie table alone is enough to challenge even the sweetest tooth of the group. And of course the chicken spitted and cooked rotisserie style over the file is always a treat.
As day turned into night everyone began lining their crocks up in anticipation of the fresh hot applebutter. This year’ we finished with 38 gallons. Once everyone claimed their applely deliciousness many gathered around the chicken fire-pit for a festive end to a hard day’s efforts. Overall our attendance was a little lower this year than it has been in the past. Thanks to all of those who joined us this year and special wishes go out to all our family members and friends who were unable to join us for this years event. You were all missed.
The Hollinger applebutter reunion is a wonderful event that helps to pass on our families culture, heritage and our traditions. Special thanks to all those who help keep this event going year after year.
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