Out & About: Plainfield Fall Festival trades treats in light of apple shortage

This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in May 2018 shows whoopie pies in Brookline, Mass. This recipe appears in the cookbook “The Perfect Cookie.” (Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP)

This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in May 2018 shows whoopie pies in Brookline, Mass. This recipe appears in the cookbook “The Perfect Cookie.” (Joe Keller/America's Test Kitchen via AP) Joe Keller

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 09-27-2023 6:19 PM

PLAINFIELD — Those who have attended the Plainfield Community Church’s annual Fall Festival may come for the rummage sale, but they know they’re in for a sweet treat with its popular apple dumplings.

But those who are stopping by the church this Saturday won’t find the dumplings: Instead, they’ll be met with a whoopie pie sale, which replaces the apple goodie traditionally made and sold as a fundraiser by the Plainfield Chimers, a handbell group.

The menu change was necessitated by the late spring frost that wiped out apple crops at most Upper Valley farms. That made it harder to get the fruit for the much-loved apple dumplings for which the group has become known.

“We knew we couldn’t do what we usually do,” Annette Moore, one of the organizers for the Fall Festival, said in a phone interview last week.

Moore started looking up different dessert recipes and came across one for whoopie pie, “which everyone loves, and I said, ‘Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if we did a bunch of different whoopie pies?’ ”

As the idea took form, Moore started to research more recipes.

“I went on Pinterest and found hundreds and hundreds of different flavors,” Moore said, listing off varieties including key lime, peanut butter, Oreo cookie — and yes, even apple. “It’s kind of crazy the flavors people can come up with.”

The volunteers who bake for the festival agreed to give different recipes a try.

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“Doing it this way, where everyone agrees to make a dozen or two, it’s not much of a hardship,” Moore said.

As of last week, volunteers had signed up to make the traditional whoopie pie flavor (chocolate cake with vanilla filling) in addition to lemon poppy seed, chocolate espresso, red velvet, mint chocolate and chocolate raspberry, among others.

While volunteers have been open to the change this year, there’s hope that next year apples will be back.

“The apple dumplings have been very, very popular, and it might be hard to convince people to move away from that,” Moore said. “Maybe we can incorporate apple and spice whoopie pies next year, along with the traditional apple treats that we use.”

The Plainfield Fall Festival is scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Plainfield Community Church, 1094 Route 12A. In addition to the rummage sale and whoopie pie sale, there will also be pulled pork sandwiches on offer. Crafters selling homemade items will also be on hand.

Springfield, Vt., festival finds new apple source

There will be apples at the Springfield (Vt.) Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Vermont Apple Festival & Craft Show — they’ll just be coming from a different source.

The festival — scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Riverside Middle School, 13 Fairground Road, in Springfield, Vt. — traditionally gets its apples from nearby Wellwood Orchards. Due to the frost, that wasn’t an option this year, said Taylor Drinker, the chamber’s membership and events director. Instead, Black River Produce, a North Springfield, Vt.-based produce and seafood distributor, has donated apples.

“We’re still happy we can still get them from a local business, even if they’re not necessarily local apples,” Drinker said in a phone interview this week.

The donated apples are then brought to the River Valley Technical Center, where culinary arts students turn them into apple crisp.

“It’s a nice chance to get the tech center involved,” Drinker said.

In addition to the apple crisp and an apple pie contest, there are also non-apple based offerings, including food vendors, crafters and children’s activities.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.