Maeystown is celebrating a local tradition once again this year, bringing the community together over apple butter for its upcoming Oktoberfest celebration this Sunday.
The making of this locally famous apple butter began on September 23, with volunteers gathering to peel and dice about 22 bushels of apples from 8 a.m. until early afternoon.
The event continued on September 24 with attendees gathering at 6 a.m., stirring and canning apple butter until 3 p.m.
Marcia Braswell of the Maeystown Preservation Society reported that the weekend as a whole went well in terms of attendance and productivity.
“I think the apple butter bake was fabulous,” she said. “I think everything went very, very well and they had a lot of help.”
Her husband David Braswell also spoke positively about the weekend.
David was present for most of the rally and reported that attendees were able to cook over 375 pots of apple butter.
“For the last three or four years, it was probably the best apple butter preparation we’ve ever had,” he said.
The event supports the Maeystown Preservation Society. David said the kitchen, which originally started in 1980, was started to raise money to buy the mill, which now houses the village museum.
That tradition has continued 42 years later, with faces such as Joanne Goeddel – home to the first apple butter kitchen – making an appearance.
The event has grown during this time, although David says it has retained its roots very well.
Friday’s work uses antique peelers and appliances meant to make dicing apples easier, and Saturday’s cooking involves several antique copper kettles – some over 100 years old – as well as a number of stirrers. of specially designed apple butter that have been acquired over the years.
“We like to say we do it the right way, we do it the old-fashioned way, and we like it that way,” David said.
This year’s apple butter canning also saw two unique twists, with locals offering to help in one way or another.
Columbia’s Ruby Fausz contacted the preservation society to donate 181-quart canning jars after hearing about the event in a previous issue of the Republic Times.
David recalled picking up Fausz’s dozens of pots, boxes upon loaded boxes to fill the bed of his truck.
Marge Woolard, who lives near Camp Wartburg on LRC Road, also reached out to donate some of her own apples.
Although the preservation company had already acquired enough to carry out their canning, it allowed a local home-schooling group to have their own experience with apple butter.
Emma Hosfeld, who teaches for the Wild Roots Community group, took some of the students to Woolard to pick apples and pears and cook apple butter in a slow cooker.
“The kids had so much fun climbing the ladder,” said Emma Hosfeld. “There were more apples than we could pick, and their favorite part was learning to use the peeler and how to make apple butter.”
Students from Rooted Learning Co-Op, an affiliate of Wild Roots, also gathered for the event. Hosfeld said both groups are centered in Waterloo.
Maeystown’s apple butter tradition continues over four decades later, bringing people together from Maeystown, Waterloo, Belleville, Valmeyer and beyond for a weekend.
David spoke passionately about the event, painting a vivid picture of an early Saturday morning with the sun rising, the sounds of chickens and roosters, the nearby creek bubbling and the crackling of cooking fires.
He also discussed the significance of the event as a tradition and gathering for Maeystown and the region.
“For me, apple peeling and mashing is more than just an opportunity to raise money for the museum,” David said. “It’s much more than that. They are neighbors who meet. It’s people from other communities who make friends. They are people who have a good time, give their time to work together for a noble cause which is the preservation of the history of Maeystown.
While weekend attendees can reserve apple butter, the public can buy their own tubs at Maeystown’s Oktoberfest this Sunday.
David said the apple butter tends to run out around noon, so get there early.