Apple butter’s versatility highlight of festival at Doty Homestead

OXFORD — Located on the Doty Homestead at Hueston Woods State Park, the 57th annual Apple Butter Festival helped Oxford welcome the fall.

Last weekend’s festival and featured a wide variety of local artisans and vendors, a llama petting station, and of course, a live demonstration of apple butter kettle cooking, complete with free samples.

Bob Carmean, the board president of the Oxford Museum Association helped to explain the history behind the apple butter moniker.

“What we were doing back in the ’60s was obtaining apples, peeling, cutting, coring and then cooking down apples in 40-gallon copper kettles, adding apple cider, then cooking down until it’s almost like an apple sauce,” Carmean said. “Apples are fall produce typically, and that’s why it’s been held in October.”

Carmean said although many haven’t tried apple butter, its versatility to go on just about anything makes it a food that anyone can appreciate.

“You can put it on toasted bagels, English muffins, any sort of toast, it’s like a spread,” Carmen said. “Some people even use it on roast pork, pork chops anything where you would put apples in a recipe.”

After weeks of preparation, Carmean said he was proud to help host a festival in Oxford that encouraged folks to enjoy the fall season.

“We take pride in being able to share in the community,” Carmean said. “It’s just fun, people with children, people with dogs walking around and having a good time.”

Local vendors such as Marcia and Bill Pendley of The Potter’s Wheel in Richmond, Ind. have been regulars at the Apple Butter Festival. The ability to show off their pottery to strangers and newly-found friends has kept them coming back.

“When they compliment you on your work, you just feel really good, and you’re hoping that what you make, makes somebody else happy and that they find the right home.” Marcia Pendley said.

“One of the best things is every once in a while, somebody will come in and say, ‘oh I bought one of these last years and I love it,’ you know,” Bill Pendley said. “And when they do that kind of thing, it just makes you feel really good.”

Another regular vendor of the festival is Cindy Howard of Howard Family Ranch, who made an appearance with her alpaca and two llamas. The three pets were available to feed and pet for visitors who made a small donation.

Howard said she and her animals have been a staple at the festival in recent years, due to Carmean visiting their farm and encouraging them to set up a tent.

Howards said that the opportunity has allowed her to showcase their farm, which includes rescue animals, as well as to teach and spread the joy of animals with other people.

“We love it, we love our time here,” Howard said. “We love spending time with the people in the community, teaching them about alpacas, and just sharing our love of the animal with everyone.”

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