Apples, Always Apples in York County
50 years ago this week, Judith Brown, a 17-year-old senior at Kennard-Dale High School, was declared the winner of York County’s apple baking dessert contest. She competed against five other county high school students: Nancy Jones, Spring Grove, runner-up; Pauline Landis, Susquehannock; Harriett Shelley, Northeastern; Georgia Weigle, Central; and (remember–this is 1957) Donald Stambaugh, Northern. Even though he didn’t win, Donald should be commended for entering a cooking contest in those more gender-rigid times.
Miss Brown was awarded a bronze medal and a ribbon as well as having all her expenses paid to the regional contest in Mechanicsburg, which must not have set the organizers back too much. Judith may or may not be related to the Brown’s of Loganville, of present-day apple pie and apple dumpling renown, but growing and cooking with apples has been a York County tradition since before Jonathan Jessop developed the York Imperial apple on his York Township Springwood Farm in the early 1800s.
The York Imperial apple was supposedly given a royal name for its exceptional keeping qualities. It is also known for retaining its shape and texture when used for baking. When it comes to growing or baking apples, York County has been right up there in the ruling class for a couple of hundred years.