Apples take center stage during ‘Apple Mania’

The display table at West 82 showcases a variety of apple choices. Photo provided.

Autumn emerged once again with altering trees, lace- up boots, and hot cocoa nights. To kick off the season, Ohio University Culinary Services hosted its second annual Apple Mania Oct. 3 in Baker Center’s West 82, where students enjoyed apples in a variety of ways.

Students and professors celebrated the locavore lifestyle once they celebrated Apple Mania. The new trend of locavore, one who consumes local produce, has trended across the nation. The food scene also runs rampant in the Athens community.

However,  apples (except crab apples) are not native to Ohio or even the western hemisphere. Linda Stradley, of “What’s Cooking America,” informs the world wide web that during the 17th century, colonists planted orchards with seeds brought from Europe. These first orchards did not produce bountiful fruit because honeybees were essential to the process. The first honeybees arrived at Virgina Colony in 1622.

A century and a half later, Johnny Appleseed hit the scene. Part of his myth rings true. In actuality, John Chapman traveled 10,000 miles planting apple seeds. He planted the seeds to feed the hungry and devoted the majority of his life to the cause.

Apple Mania, like Appleseed, worked for a cause.

Danny Grove, assistant manager at West 82, said Apple Mania was “very well received” last year. Grove contributed some of the event’s popularity to the fact that it “showcases the local foods.”

All of the apples came from a farm in Marietta, Ohio. Canned products were also on sale to be enjoyed for days to come. Jars from Hidden Hills Farm included canned apple jelly, apple butter, apple preserves and apple salsa.

Students welcomed the event as a transition into fall.  Freshman Alicia Woods especially appreciated the apple butter.

“It is seasonal. I love apple butter. I have never made it, but I know others who have,”she said.

Apple Mania offered a variety of apple-themed products, such as apple squash soup, apple cider and numerous apple desserts, which included apple ginger pie, apple caramel cheesecake and apple butterscotch brownies.

Grove admitted that the apple krutchen, which is like a coffee cake, is his favorite.

Though Apple Mania offered apples cooked, pureed and chopped in various dishes, customers could still buy the fruit in the original form.

The majority of the food was priced economically for student budgets. An assortment of desserts were  priced at one dollar.

However, some students had no idea that apple mania was occurring. Sophomore Rikkel Grove said it was “the first time I heard about it.” Grove admitted she’d go to Apple Mania next time.  “It sounds magical.” —

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