More than 30 years and thousands of jars of Bluff City UMC homemade Apple Butter feed hungry locally and internationally.
Bluff City United Methodist Church stirs up apple butter each year to use food to feed the hungry. Homemade, kettle-cooked over an open flame apple butter stirred for six hours, is jarred, sold, and raises valuable funds for the fight against hunger.
Since approximately 1980, the Church’s ministry has grown from supporting the “World Hunger Advance,” a program focusing on sustainable food and water project worldwide, to now expanded to other hunger projects like Second Harvest Food Bank, which helps families in Bluff City and our region; Society of St. Andrew’s Potato Gleaning Project; and Ishe Anesu, an afterschool project that supports the poorest children in a Zimbabwean community. The Apple Butter ministry also supports mission trips for outreach in the Czech Republic; and youth mission trips such as providing tornado recovery in Tennessee.
After months of gathering donated supplies, Church members spend the entire day preparing kettles and fires, and then stir the large copper pots with long wooden paddles–never stopping, not even to switch off to another pair of hands. Between 6 and 12 kettles are prepared each year–this year 8 will be attended to by young and experienced together. Apple Butter that meets the color, consistency and taste test, is ladled very carefully into pint and quart-sized jars, and then labeled BCUMC Apple Butter.
Official taste tester Nancy Forrester said she is looking for, “Just the right sweetness and a thick consistency,” and her assessment is definitely popular. Regular customers anticipate Apple Butter making day and place orders in advance for enjoyment and gift giving. Spread on biscuits is probably the preferred and most common way it’s savored, but if it can last, many use it in baking, on sandwiches and bagels, on cottage cheese, pancakes or oatmeal, and in sauces. Bluff City UMC offers original Apple Butter, as well as “extra cinnamon” and “no sugar added.” All varieties contain apples and cinnamon, and no artificial sweeteners.
Fortunate guests to Sunday worship are treated with a gift of Apple Butter, but the Apple Butter is always for sale in the Church office, at Bluff City Heritage Day, and at selected area farmers’ markets. Apple Butter can be purchased (quarts are $7 and pints are $4), by emailing email@example.com or calling 423-538-7822, and if no answer, leaving a message.
“Our Apple Butter ministry blesses many lives,” said Rev. Dan Gray, Pastor, “From those who prepare it, to those who enjoy it, to those who are now less hungry. We are passionate about serving others in the name of Christ and this ministry. It really helps that Apple Butter is so popular!”
The Church invites anyone who would like to help or just see Apple Butter making day, Saturday, October 21, from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm at Ike & Andi Fleenor’s farm, 3474 Weaver Pike, Bristol, TN.
Bluff City United Methodist Church is a downtown church serving the Bluff City community, with members from around the greater area. Founded around 1775, today it continues to serve the community, offers worship on Sunday at 8:45 am and 10:55 am, supports mission work, and provides children’s, youth, and adult programs. It is located at 468 Cedar Street in Bluff City and at www.bluffcityumc.org on the web, where it is focused on knowing, loving, and serving God as growing disciples of Jesus Christ, and connecting people with God’s love.