Picture this: A giant copper kettle full of apple butter, cooking over a wood fire. Does anything else speak so deliciously of fall?
Certainly nothing else speaks so deliciously of the 32nd annual Apple Butter Festival and Craft Show at the MacQueen Orchards, which will be Saturday and next Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Holland-based orchard and farm market.
Hundreds of pints of the sweet and slightly cinnamony apple butter will be cooked (and sold) at the festival, and apple cider will also be made. Apple pies will be available and so will sliced apples with caramel topping, and warm apple dumplings with cinnamon ice cream. And if you want to pick your own apples, well, the orchard will be more than happy to oblige, for a fee.
If you are one of those spoilsports who want to eat something that is not specifically apple-related, you can do that too (but you ought to be just the tiniest bit ashamed of yourself). Ribs, chicken, Philadelphia cheese steak sandwiches, gyros, hot dogs, funnel cakes, and more, including hot, spiced almonds, will all be for sale.
Carnival rides, pony rides, lots of music — the MacQueen Orchard festival has all the usual festival goodies, plus one thing more: an apple pie contest. If you want to enter, pick up a registration form at the orchard market and return it by Friday. A baked pie, along with its recipe, must be delivered between 11 and 11:45 a.m. on Saturday. And watch out; the competition is tough.
The festival is free and will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. The orchard is at 7605 Garden Rd. in Holland. For more information, call 419-865-2916.
Creative cooks are encouraged to submit recipes to two nationwide contests, though one of the nationwide contests actually comes from Toledo.
If you’re handy with tomatoes, you might want to create a recipe for the sixth annual Ripened Recipe Contest from Dei Fratelli, the Toledo-based tomato canning company. If peanut butter is more your style — and if you’re 6 to 12 years old — you might consider the 12th annual Jif Most Creative Sandwich Contest.
The Dei Fratelli contest is a way to celebrate National Tomato Month, which you already know is October. All they ask is that your recipe use at least one Dei Fratelli tomato product.
The grand prize winner will receive money and fame: a $250 VISA gift card; free Dei Fratelli products for a year; the recipe placed on the company Web site, email, and social media pages, and a YouTube video demonstrating how to make it. The five runners-up will get free Dei Fratelli products for a year, and five honorable mention winners will receive the tomato products for one month and a stylin’ home apron.
Does anyone say “stylin’” anymore?
Recipes may be entered from Tuesday through Nov. 15 at www.deifratelli.com or at Hirzel Canning Co., 411 Lemoyne Rd., Northwood, OH 43619.
Meanwhile, innovative young cooks can “achieve sandwich stardom,” according to the folks at Jif, as well as win a $25,000 college scholarship, with the Jif contest. If you’re 6 to 12, all you need is to invent an original sandwich recipe using at least two tablespoons of Jif Peanut Butter, Hazelnut Spread, Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, or Whips Peanut Butter spreads.
The sandwiches will be judged on their creativity, taste, visual appeal, and ease of preparation. The recipes must be submitted (and parents can help with the submitting) to www.jif.com by noon on Nov. 8. More information is also available at that Web site.
Jif, as you know, is owned by the J.M. Smucker Co., of Orrville, Ohio. These national contests may be more local than you think.
Want to know what a farm is like?
City slickers with a curiosity about where their food comes from can take a tour of farms throughout Lucas County from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. It’s a drive-it-yourself tour, sponsored by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour of as few or as many of these farms as you want:
Lonnie Perry Farms (grain and cattle), 8636 Yawberg Rd., Whitehouse; Majestic Oak Winery (wines, including wine tasting), 13554 Mohler Rd., Grand Rapids; Whitehouse Daylily Farm (daylilies and tomatoes), 10433 Ramm Rd., Whitehouse; Stevens Gardens (pumpkin patch, hayride, straw maze, corn maze, petting zoo), 4550 Weckerly Rd., Monclova; and Ronau Swine Farm (pigs; the tour will be via video and live streaming), 3625 N. Berkey Southern Rd., Berkey.
A hog roast dinner will begin at the Ronau Swine Farm at 5:30 p.m.
For more information, call the farm bureau at 419-849-2128.
Greek cooking classes
Did you like the Greek food at the festival this year at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral? Would you like to know how to make it yourself?
You’re in luck, as long as you want to know how to make spanakopita or baklava (a class on tiropites was held too early to make our deadline). A class on spanakopita — the flaky spinach pie — will be held in the cathedral’s community center Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be a $45 charge for that class. A class on baklava will be Oct. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. for a charge of $55.
Participants will get to take their own tray of food home.
For both classes, all participants must bring their own 1-quart saucepan and 3-inch pastry brush. A new, high-quality paintbrush will also work (but seriously, make sure it is new.) Registration is required. To register, go to www.holytrinitytoledo.com (click on cookbook, scroll to Greek Cooking Classes) or call the church at 419-243-9189. The church and its community center are at 740 N. Superior St.
The historic Fayette Opera House needs a new heating and cooling system for its first floor, so the local arts council has come up with a novel way to raise funds for it: a cooking show sponsored by kitchenware company the Pampered Chef.
What is being called a “culinary workshop” — complete with foods to sample — will be at 3 p.m. Saturday. Participants will receive coupons and the Pampered Chef Cook Book. There probably will also be some pressure to buy Pampered Chef kitchen items (it’s sort of like a Tupperware party), but one-third of the proceeds from all sales will go to help pay for the new furnace and air-conditioning system.
Admission is $5, which also goes to the heating and cooling. The opera house is at 105 E. Main St. in Fayette, Ohio, in Fulton County.
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