That's what they call our segment of Western New York, nestled along the shores of Lake Ontario. We get cool, damp springs and warm, gorgeous autumns (most of the time) and that allows the apples just the right amount of time to grow... ripen... sweeten... and then the frost brings them to the bags and baskets of pickers.
Our town is famous for its Apple Fest.
The Applefest is put together each year by a dedicated committee of people who oversee the scheduling, the positioning and the behind-the-scenes maneuvering to engineer a festival that draws tens of thousands of people to our little town of Hilton...
Over a two-day festival on a plot of land that's centered around the Community Center, an old high school building ripe with memories and nostalgia.
Here's a glimpse of this year's brochure.
Vendors come from all over. Farmer Dave's mother and sisters showcase beautiful tables of crocheted and knitted items. For babies, for kitchens, for wearing, blankets, afghans, washcloths... Over a hundred vendors bring their wares and goods to the festival site and pray for good weather... which can be an iffy proposition here in Western New York in October!
A few area farms take part in the ring of farm wagons along the blacktop... Food of all kinds, from licensed vendors and food trucks to local agencies and non-profits selling everything from hot dogs to cannolis.... and anything you can make with apples! Apple sundaes... apple cider... hot apple cider.... apple pie.... apple cake.... apple fried cakes... cider donuts... apple crisp.... apple dumplings.... I'm beginning to feel like Forrest Gump and Bubba and the SHRIMP routine in Forrest Gump.
It's a crazy fun, busy, turn-the-town-over-to-others time because you can't get near the pharmacies or grocery stores, or the gas stations, or the restaurants until early evening. Every parking space is full and folks who can't find one, park at the high school and take the shuttle bus in.
It's a wonderful way to celebrate the amazing bounty of our land... our town, famous for its apple farms... our climate... and our willingness to work together. The committee holds a "logo" contest each year, and chooses a new logo for that particular year... I love this one from 2002...
Local men and women sell goods and wares, families sell things along the sidewalks, and there's a joy that pervades the whole affair... but why not?
It's all about APPLES!!!!
And once we realized we were meant to be a pumpkin farm in the midst of fall, the Apple Fest brings us lots of business. We're already firing up the ovens to get baked goods ready for Saturday. Whoopie pies, cookies, and breads... And jams. The Very Berry Cherry is the crowd-pleasing favorite, so I'll make and bottle two batches of that today.... that way they're ready for the weekend sales!
It's fun to live in a small town. It's a glimpse into the world of today through the looking glass of yesterdays.... old buildings, new customs, old men bearing flags, young women pushing strollers.
It's part of the fabric, part of the tradition, and when we talk apple pie around here, well... it's a serious conversation!
So that's what's happening this week and this weekend. Thousands of pumpkins for sale... Indian corn, so varied and pretty! Gourds, squash, butternut, buttercup, acorn, spaghetti....
And a festival celebrating the humble fruit that began it's heyday as a VERY TEMPTING orb in the Garden of Eden... But a welcome fruit here, at our table, any time!
And in three weeks, this beautiful story hits the shelves across America... and I'm delighted to see it happen. My 20th book with Love Inspired, and it's been a wonderful partnership from the beginning... Keep watch for it, I love to hear when people first spot it... and where!
Multi-published author Ruthy Logan Herne has over 40 published novels and novellas... she's living her dream of being a published author and can be found knee-deep in pumpkins this time of year on their pumpkin farm in Western New York... you can find Ruthy on Facebook, on Twitter or visit her website ruthloganherne.com She loves to hear from readers!