Apple butter, crafts festival plannedWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
An autumn drive to MacQueen Orchards in Holland is a family tradition for many local residents, especially this weekend for the Apple Butter Stir and Crafts Festival.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 4 and 5 and includes an outdoor apple butter stir, apple pie baking contest, barbeque, craft show, live entertainment and pony- and horse-drawn wagon rides. Admission is free.
“We’ll have thousands of people coming out for this family event,” said Robert MacQueen, president of MacQueen Orchards, Garden Road. “There’s always something to do and see with great things to eat.”
Fall begins at MacQueen Orchards in September with the “pick your own apples” from among 24 different varieties through the third week of October. Pony rides, along with tours of the cider mill, orchard and packing plant are available every Saturday and Sunday in October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The MacQueen family has been growing apples since 1936 when the first apple tree was planted on the 25-acre farm by its founders, Hugh and Martha MacQueen. The couple took bushel baskets full of apples by truck to town every day to supply area fruit stands and markets for many years.
Their son, Robert, joined the family business in 1954, after graduating from high school. Today, he operates the growing business with his sons, Bob and Jeff, and other members of the family.
The family now grows 18 varieties of peaches and pears along with all those apples on more than 250 acres. The fresh fruit is sold at MacQueen’s Apple Barn and Cider Mill.
The cider mill was constructed in 1979, and pasteurized cider is made daily from September through May. Cider is sold by the gallon, half-gallon or the cup to taste.
Scheduled tours of the cider mill are offered to show people how the apples are washed, prepared and then squished by the giant apple press to produce cider known as one of nature’s finest drinks, according to the family.
In 1982, a pie oven was purchased to begin a tradition of home-baked pies in 15 different varieties. The bakery was expanded in 1983, after the girls returned from baking school.
Bob’s wife, Marlene, added her interest in crafts and dried flowers to develop a retail business known as the Country Barn. In 1996, the gift barn was turned into a year-round specialty store, The Christmas Shop.
The MacQueen’s original homestead house was renovated to become Martha’s Country Gifts, named for the woman who lived there with her husband. A new boutique section was added to the store that also offers ceramic, pottery, pictures, potpourri, candles, lamps, and many other crafts.
Jeff’s wife, Jody, manages the The Christmas Shop and Martha’s Country gifts. They shop carefully to offer quality, attractive country gifts at a reasonable price.
MacQueen’s is open every day year-round except for major holidays. Fall hours are from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in October and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. November through April. More information is available at the Web site www.macqueenorchards.com.