Entering the Shepherdstown Fire Department's station on Saturday, the only thing one could smell was the sweetness of apples and spices. The aroma wafted up from kettles placed throughout the engine bay that were bubbling with the mixture that would later be ladled into jars and sold to the public.
The fire department worked all week last week preparing for the 23rd annual fundraiser which garners their treasury more than $17,000 each year.
According to company treasurer Dennis Barron, the crew and volunteers made 1,816 quarts of apple butter during the week before Saturday's big day of stirring. At the end of the day Saturday, an additional 2,700 jars were complete.
Barron shared that 324 bushels of apples were used to prepare the approximately 4,500 jars of apple butter. The apples, procured from Jefferson Orchard, were cut, cooked, sugared and spiced prior to filling jars for patrons.
Added to the apples were sugar and spices including oil of cinnamon and cloves. Barron said that over the years, the apple butter has been made only with Domino's Sugar.
"People have suggested we go with a cheaper generic," Barron said, "but I stick with the Domino's because of the taste."
Volunteers with the fire department were joined by many others who offered their services to help chop apples, stir and finish the product.
Barron explained that several groups use the fire hall throughout the year for different events and fundraisers and then partner with the company for big events like the apple butter making. Included in the list of partnerships formed were the Shepherd Volleyball team, the Shepherd Women's Basketball team, the Martisnburg FFA, the Rotruck family and the Eastern Panhandle Chapter of Alumnae Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Speaking on behalf of the sorority, member Cheryl Roberts said that they were thrilled to be hleping out the fire department.
"Anything we can do to partner with them, we will do," she said. She went on to explain that the sorority is based on public service.
"We couldn't make this happen without all of their help," Barron said.
In addition to the apple butter, shoppers and visitors could find any number of gift ideas and items at the associated craft fair held inside the station. Baked goods, honey, scarves, jewelry and many more items could be found for purchase just in time for the upcoming holidays.