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Oyster Fest isn’t just about oysters

Small Lewis Miller drawing of Lewis Hausigel and George Smith hooking apples from George Sheffel's cellar in 1805,
Small Lewis Miller drawing of Lewis Hausigel and George Smith hooking apples from George Sheffel’s cellar in 1805,

It’s time for 41st Annual Oyster Fest this Sunday, October 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at York County Heritage Trust’s Agricultural and Industrial Museum, 217 West Princess Street in York. Once again fried oysters, raw oysters and oyster stew will be served. Steamed shrimp are also a tradition. Don’t really care for shellfish, or maybe have a seafood allergy? Pork barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs and creamy macaroni and cheese are always popular. Sides include chips, applesauce and coleslaw. Water, soda, cider, coffee, beer and wine make up the beverage selection. To top off the other food, there is always a varied selection of home-baked goods.

In years past I have shared items related to York County’s long relationship with oysters (and I don’t even personally like oysters), so this year I’m looking at the signature apple fritters. Battered and fried, they make an excellent dessert or side (or meal).

Sometime in the 1990s, I was on a committee at the Historical Society of York County (now part of York County Heritage Trust) that published a cookbook with all kinds of recipes for oysters, as well as other traditional local foods and beverages. The book is now out of print, but it can sometimes be picked up at used book stores. Chef Darrell Tobin, who still oversees the apple fritters, submitted a recipe for the cookbook for the apple fritter batter, cut down to home size. (You peel the apples and then slice them crosswise before dipping into the batter.) Here is the recipe:

1 1/3 c. flour
1/4 tbsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
2/3 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
2/3 c. milk
6 large apples

Combine dry ingredients; mix well with eggs and milk. Drain apples, dip in batter and fry at 350 degrees, turning once like donuts ‘til golden brown. Drain well on paper towels.

Of course, you can just come Sunday and get them hot and already done. But you might get a hankering for them again before next October.

There will also be music, all kinds of demonstrations and activities through the day, and bargains in the gift shop area. There is always something for all the family members to enjoy, so come eat and stay a while.