Those in search of yummy comfort food were in for a tasty treat Saturday as the Trinity United Methodist Church held their Apple Butter and Brunswick Stew event. Previous years saw the church selling their stew and apple butter on different weekends however this year, they decided to do it all on one day in conjunction with their annual pumpkin patch. Karen Poole, who is known affectionately as the Apple Butter Queen and is the treasurer of the fellowship class at the church, said the apple butter tradition has been in her family for a long time and the church has been doing it for a sizeable fraction.
“We’ve been making apple butter for 27 years now. The recipe actually came from my family back in the early 1900s, and we have to use copper kettles because it’s fruit and we have to stir all day long,” Poole said. “We started last night with 12 bushels of apples, made apple sauce last night, so now we’re cooking the apple sauce [and] we’ll add sugar in about an hour, but the secret ingredient is cinnamon hearts … it gives it a zing.”
In addition to the secret ingredient, Poole also mentioned that at the bottom of each pot are five silver dollars, which prevent the mix from sticking. Poole said the church started making and selling apple butter in 1988 after they were trying to decide how to sponsor a family for Christmas.
“One year we were trying to figure out what we could do to raise some money to sponsor a Christmas family and I said, ‘Well, my family always makes apple butter, that was kind of fun, Of course, when I was a kid, I didn’t pay much attention because I was a teenager and I had other things I wanted to do;” Poole said.
“And now all of a sudden, I’m in charge, but I said, ‘I think we can do apple butter, yeah that sounds like a good idea,’ and that was 27 years ago.”
If there is a queen, there must be a king, and Poole said John Morris is the Brunswick Stew King. Morris has been a member of Trinity United since 2002, and he
took over the stew duties from Ed Hazzard. Morris discussed the ingredients and preparation of the stew.
“We normally prepare about 600 quarts, [There are] two big pots and 75 gallons of peas, and what I cook is about 170 lbs. of chicken, 50 lbs. of beef [and] about 300 lbs. of potatoes, and all the vegetables,” Morris said. “That’s basically what we do, and we normally sell out. I normally have pre-sales of somewhere around 300.”
Both Poole and Morris said they expect a huge turnout and that the money made from the event will go to the different mission projects in the church.
“We use the money [from] this for different mission projects in the church,” Poole said. “We help needy families, we’re working with people on Jefferson Davis Highway, we always have a couple [of] Christmas families, [and] we work with the battered women’s shelter in Petersburg, so the money from this goes for our various projects during the year.”