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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Apple Smorgasbord

Apple Smorgasbord

GRHC - April 24th, 2011

West of the Grand River was home of the Peach Ridge Growers Association formed in 1928. Farmers found the peachy soil to be just right for growing apples. The first apple smorgasbord was held in 1951 to build community through a growers picnic where attendees could enjoy apple fritters and apple butter.    



The Ridge, an elevation of land west of the Grand River, bordered on the North by Bailey Road, and the south by Leonard Street, was home to the Peach Ridge Fruit Growers Association, formed in 1928. They grew mostly peaches, but farmers on the Ridge discovered the soil and climate also worked well for growing apples.

The Association held their first apple smorgasbord in September of 1951 when the harvest was in full swing. The annual event began as a grower’s picnic to build community among its members. Eventually it expanded to include those who could help promote apples or had influence over the industry; people such as editors, reporters and the media, local food stores, and government officials, both local and state.

Farm wives used their old German and Swedish recipes to assemble a full buffet of apple dishes including salads, appetizers, main dishes, beverages, and of course desserts for those lucky enough to be invited. An invitation to the event became highly coveted.

The Apple Queen mingled with the crowd, apple fritters were fried while you waited, and apple butter was made in a large copper kettle over an open fire. One year Lady Bird Johnson’s submission of White House Apple Tarts was the featured recipe. Smorgasbord recipes were always in high demand.

After twenty years the event had served its mission to promote the apple industry and build community among the growers. The Peach Ridge Growers Association held their last smorgasbord in 1971. 

Full Details

TitleApple Smorgasbord
KeywordsGlance at the Past, history, radio, Apple Smorgasbord, apples, Peach Ridge Growers, Grand Rapids, Historical Commission, Podcast
Pubdate StringApril 24th, 2011

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