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It wouldn’t be October without apple butter

By Staff | Nov 2, 2018

Apple butter kettles filled the bay at Shepherdstown Fire Department for the company's annual fundraiser. Photo by Toni Milbourne.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Shepherdstown Fire Department began a tradition 29 years ago, the Apple Butter Festival, that is still going strong and attracting community members from around Jefferson County.

The tradition continued last Saturday, when the department once again filled the bays at the department with kettles of bubbling goodness. By the time the last kettle was rinsed late Saturday night, more than 4,000 quarts of apple butter were made, to help the department raise more than $20,000.

According to SVFD Treasurer Denny Barron, the event proceeds go into the company’s general fund for whatever needs may arise. Though labor-intensive, the apple butter making is one of the company’s largest single fundraisers. In recent years, the cooking time and prepping process have been simplified, by combining apple sauce and apples in the mixture, which also includes Domino Sugar and spices, according to Barron.

Domino Sugar has donated the first 2,000 pounds of sugar toward the endeavor for the past several years, according to former SVFD EMS Chief Doug Pittinger.

“People have suggested we go with a cheaper generic,” Barron said, “but I stick with the Domino’s because of the taste.”

The original recipe for the company’s apple butter came from Naomi Miller, who helped the crew get started in 1990. Miller was sister to Annabel Osbourn, of Shepherdstown.

Regular SVFD volunteers were joined by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Brothers of Harmony Lodge, Jefferson High School’s baseball, softball and football teams and many community members, helping to chop apples, stir and finish the product.

“We try to do things in the community to help whenever we can,” said Brothers of Harmony Lodge member Steve Holmes.

Along with the apple butter, shoppers and visitors could find any number of gift ideas and items at the craft fair held inside the station. Baked goods, honey, scarves, jewelry and many other items could be purchased at the craft fair.

Although the festival is now over, community members can still help support the SVFD and get a jar of apple butter, by visiting the department, Betty’s Restaurant or Jefferson Security Bank. The apple butter is being sold for $8 a quart, with both sugar and sugar-free options.