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Church makes annual treat

ROCK CAMP – The smell of cooking apples and burning green firewood mixed with laughter and sounds of old friends reminiscing Tuesday at Rock Camp United Methodist Church.

Wednesday, October 04, 2000

ROCK CAMP – The smell of cooking apples and burning green firewood mixed with laughter and sounds of old friends reminiscing Tuesday at Rock Camp United Methodist Church.

The church has made apple butter every fall for more than 25 years, a tradition that many church members grew up with, and talk about.

"When we make the apple butter, we remember people who have helped in the past and are no longer with us," Melva Allen said. "There are a lot of good memories."

As they stirred the apple concoction in large firewood-heated pots, they kept stirring up memories.

"Do you remember the time that every one of us were thrown into the creek?" Bill Allen said.

"I remember," Melva Allen said. "Everyone was thrown in except me."

And there’s plenty of time for such remembrances. Making apple butter is time-consuming.

Tuesday, members of the church started at 7 a.m. by putting an applesauce-like mixture into two mammoth copper kettles. They cooked until late in the day to get all the extra water out of the mixture, all the while stirring with large wooden paddles.

Afterward, sugar, cinnamon and other spices are added. In the end, the result is apple butter.

The church sells the apple butter every year to raise money for church projects. Last year, part of the money sent the church youth group to camp.

Equally important to the apple-butter-making project is the kitchen staff, who keep the hungry apple butter makers fed.

Cooks inside kept up a steady supply of chili, beans, sandwiches, cakes, pies and Mexican cornbread for the stirrers and cooks outside.

"You have to feed them to keep them stirring," Lena Clark said.

The group relies on word of mouth to sell their product. Allen said that after 25 years, word of mouth becomes as hard-hitting as billboards.

"We’ve been making this so long that when people hear that we have it, they come to us," he said.

Orders for the apple butter may be placed by calling 532-1484 or 377-4861.