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Apple Recipes from the Archives

Sparta has a very rich history! And although many things have changed from the past, there is one thing that still remains... our love for all things apple! We were able to pull some fantastic apple recipes from our archives of old documents along with incredible stories of the Sparta Community.

Old publications recorded the first year that Sparta celebrated the apple harvest, 1950. That was when the Peach Ridge Fruit Growers Association first held what they deemed the "Apple Smorgasboard." They continued the tradition year after year. Publications afterward recorded tales of the successful event, boasting of the hundreds of people who attended every year. The tables were loaded with delicious apple recipes for everyone to enjoy!

One such publication talks about the history of the apple Smorgasboard and describes the origin of Peach Ridge. The article talks about how farmers started growing apples and peaches on the ridge as an experiment, only to find that they grew fantastically! So they switched their crop to grow more apples and peaches. At that time, more peaches were grown than apples on the ridge, hence the name.

Pictured on the right is a clipping of a publication from 1958. It includes recipes from that year that won prizes. One such being taffy apples like the ones the girls in the picture to the left are enjoying. The girls,

whose picture was printed in the 1959 September Edition of the Grand Rapids Press, attended the apple smorgasbord that year. They seem to be enjoying one of the many apple treats that were offered!

Along with taffy apples, there were many other yummy apple dishes. In 1956, one publication boasted of 202 dishes that were made for the smorgasbord! These recipes were ones that had been passed down along with ones that had been invented by the talented women of Sparta.

One such recipe that got featured in the paper in 1954, was a recipe for apple fritters! A treat that is still popular today! It's just another example of past and present connecting in a way that we might not always think about.

Today, no one hosts an apple smorgasbord, but that does mean the celebration stopped! Michigan Apple Fest is a current-day "smorgasbord" of apple-themed activities for all ages! Kiddie tractor pull, apple peeling competitions, apple pie eating contests, hay bale decorating, and more! Sparta hasn't lost the apple spirit, come see for yourself on September 23-24 and immerse yourself in the rich historic tradition of celebrating the harvest!


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