Farm Museum holds apple butter demonstrations
— A steady stream of visitors came to the racetrack property Saturday to watch demonstrations on old-time farm skills, such as making apple butter in big iron kettles over a wood-burning fire, making brooms from sorghum plants and spinning wool by hand.
Lost arts such as these were the highlight of the annual Cecil County Farm Museum fall festival. Now in its fourth year at the Fair Hill racetrack, the event is planned to coincide with the Fair Hill International competition nearby.
“We use this money to help us pay for renovations at the Farm Museum’s new home on Appleton Road,” said Jerry England, Farm Museum president.
Now that exterior renovations are done, they’re concentrating on the inside, he explained.
“We’ve been busy all day,” England said, noting the weather was much better than last year’s chilly winds.
The event adds a few new vendors each year to give visitors more choices. New this year was a vendor offering polished gemstones on silver chains that covered an array of colors.
Sam Moyer, The Jersey Jerry Broomsquire, brought an array of handmade brooms of different lengths and for different purposes including small spaces, outdoor, indoor and heavy duty.
“Always hang your brooms up and they’ll last longer,” he said, as he explained proper care to a customer.
Other vendors offered fresh produce, flowers, handmade clothing, soaps and lots of homemade baked goods.
Another vendor brought a collection of old lanterns, explaining each one’s pur-
Liza Sanford-Crane of Elkton demonstrates her spinning wheel technique Saturday at Fair Hill while Gerry Scarfe, of Elkton, another spinner, looks for more product.
pose and function to those interested. Kettle corn and handmade furniture added to the mix of items for sale.
Meanwhile, the biggest effort of the day focused on apple butter production, from cooking for hours to bottling for sale. A large group of volunteers who support the Farm Museum spend the day there on their individual assigned tasks. It’s a true team effort, ending in an assembly line of workers who bottle, label and count the pint jars, which fetch $6 each.
England said they actually start making it the weekend prior to the fall event so that they have enough to sell the day of the event.
“People order it by the case,” England said, noting that this year’s yield is particularly good. “We had three kettles going all day and we’re probably going to end up with about 600 pints.”
They use blemished, or seconds from Milburns Orchard.
“We got high production this year,” England said.
While all of the demonstrations and cooking is going on, visitors could listen to live bluegrass music being performed by a local band called “It’s Never Too Late.”
Never Too Late, a local bluegrass band, entertained visitors to the Farm Museum Apple Butter Festival at the Fair Hill racetrack Saturday.
Volunteers bottle freshly made apple butter Saturday during a demonstration at the Fair Hill racetrack to benefit the Cecil County Farm Museum.