Thursday, September 28, 2017

Applefest Weekend in Hilton New York

Apple Country.

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  She loves to hear from readers! 


  1. Apples! Oh, how I miss apples. Apple orchards in the spring, apple picking in September and October, bushels of apples in the porch waiting for their turn to be made into applesauce, or pie...

    I love living in the West, but we just don't have the bounty of fruit you get when you live near one of the Great Lakes.

    And I've been known (back when we lived closer) to schedule a trip to Michigan/Indiana during apple season to bring home a van full of apples. :)

    Enjoy the weekend, Ruthy! It sounds like it will be full of great times!

    1. If and when I come West, I'm bringing you apples. Although WA state apples would be closer, wouldn't they????

      We found in our travels to Ohio twice this summer, that there are new orchards and vineyards decorating the Ontario and Erie shores! Deer fencing is going up (fewer hunters means way too many big whitetail deer that like to eat young trees) and trellised apple trees are the current craze. Easy picking, spraying, optimum sunlight. It's funny to think of spooning under an old-fashioned orchard canopy... and now it would be like walking in a vineyard!

      But gorgeous apples, Jan!!!!

  2. Now I want apple cider! That is the biggest thing I got out of this! No time to grab some on my way to work either. I grew up in a small town and yours sounds so charming! Maybe we all just need to take a vacation to see your farm some day.

    1. Katie, you are welcome anytime! Apple cider... oh, yum. We used to have a lot of cider producers back in the day, but when the state said it had to be pasteurized, a lot of small farms backed out... and now they buy their cider from bigger farms so they have it during the season. But it carries THEIR FARM LABEL!!! :)

      Doesn't matter.

      Great cider is great cider. And cider tastes so much nicer than apple juice.

      It's just simply fresher.

    2. I love apple cider! Jan made it for our wedding. We didn't have good fresh apples and there was a lot to make so she used juice and made it taste AMAZING! Best time of the year is now. Apple cider and pumpkin spice.

    3. Katie, I'm totally in agreement. And Jan is awesome, isn't she? I love her to pieces, and we kind of KNEW we'd love each other even before we met... I'm figuring God had a hand in that!!!!

  3. I've been craving fresh juicy apples something fierce but our weather didn't cooperate this year. Way too much rain all summer and then a month of super hot humid temps in September have wrecked the local crops -- something about mold or fungus? The apples are all misshapen and rotting on the trees. I feel sorry for the farmers. Still going to go to the market this weekend and see what local apples can be had. Bet they'll cost a pretty penny though.

    Looking forward to your 20th LI, Ruthy! It's on my hit list for my October shopping spree at HQ. Lots of Seeker books have been coming out this fall and I'm loving it.

    1. Oh my stars, you're on the wrong side of the lake, I think... move here. We can read and drink cider!!!!

      And I hope you LOVE the 20th book.... have the tissues handy.

      Like really close by.

      But totally worth it. :)

      Love you, Kav!!!

  4. Ruthy, would you consider mailing purchases from your farm???? I want to order some of that jam, and some Indian corn for decorating!

    What I really, really want is to be able to take a trip up there to see you. Maybe someday!

    1. Missy, we should have a writers' retreat up here. It's such a "New England" kind of place, hills, trees, forest, farms, and little towns with old-time homes. Very "Last of the Mohicans" friendly!

      And the jam is so stinkin' good... I'm so glad folks are loving it! I do sour cherry jam, too, and I love that, but the Very Berry has folks driving back for more... and we love that!

  5. We found your book today on the shelf! Such a pretty cover!!

  6. This sounds so amazing! We live bed the apple goodies they had in East Aurora NY when we lived near there!