A once-a-year occasion

hardin county amish farm

The picture above was taken at an Amish farm in Hardin County, Ohio (we’ve mentioned this settlement already this summer, see the unusual buggy post).

Can you guess what’s happening here?

The family only does this once a  year.  Luckily, that was the day I stopped by!

UPDATE: if you guessed apple butter, well done! See below in the comments for a bit more background on this photo (this took place in mid-August, for those who were wondering). And here’s another photo of the final product (from last year’s batch):

amish apple butter jar

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  1. Tracy

    A once a year occasion

    Making Apple Butter! Yum! Yum!

  2. Char

    Making Apple Sauce? [apple butter too, yum!]

  3. Robert

    what is it

    amish moonshine?

    1. Shawn

      Amish Moonshine?

      @ Robert^: Amish moonshine? What’s Amish moon shine? I didn’t know they drank! haha! That’s great! I was actually guna pick up some cranberry wine on my way home today! haha

  4. Priscilla Daniel

    Once a year occasion

    Making lye soap.

  5. Mary Beth

    The very first thing I thought was apple butter and I see others thought that too.

  6. Either making apple butter or cooking down sorghum.

  7. Sharon

    Once a year event

    I haven’t a CLUE!!!! Please tell us. HA…..As usual more interesting things that Erik finds, in his travels!! Thanks, Sharon

  8. Susan

    Yep, that's about ready for the schnitz

    Nice to fix the fire that way, I bet….no standing in the smoke while you’re stirring and surely wouldn’t take near so much wood. We always had an open fire, not near so handy.

  9. MaryAnn Pepe

    Making Amish grits??

  10. Greg Miller

    Photo - once a year

    Making maple sugar?

  11. Allyson L

    My first thought was Apple Butter.

  12. Lois Klobucher

    The first thing I thought of was a fish boil

  13. Nancee


    Since we have no true idea what time of year this is, it could be late winter and maple sugar boiling time. Making lye soap makes sense, but I think that apple butter would be made inside the house.

  14. ramblinjodie

    I’m with Priscilla, I think they are making lye soap. I think I saw something similar in Kalona, IA

  15. lanore

    well if it’s in the spring it could be maple sugar boiling down. Don’t know if thats done in the fall. =-D

  16. Christina

    The copper kettle and the long handled stirrer is a dead give away for apple butter! YUUUUUMMMMMMMMM!!!! My mouth is watering:-) Interesting set up they have there, I wonder if it helps the fire to burn more efficiently and therefore use less wood or maybe cut the boiling time down?

    Anyway, I would love to make apple butter this way, but I can’t even afford a 5 gallon kettle, copper is WAY too expensive:-(

  17. Shawn

    Amish Moonshine?

    @Robert^: Amish moonshine? What’s Amish moonshine? I didn’t know they drank! haha I’m actually guna pick up some cranberry wine on my way home today! haha

  18. Once a year occasion

    I don’t know how you make apple butter but my guess is lye soap.


  19. Alice Mary

    Somethin' good...

    I just made some grape jam last weekend, since my friend’s concord grapes are ripe now (“yearly”). My first guess was they’re making maple syrup, second would be soap. Reading Christina’s post (and others’), I suddenly have a major craving for apple butter!

    PLEEEAASE tell us, Erik!!

  20. Lois Morgan

    Chancy Apple Butter

    As I remember making apple butter, if somebody wasn’t standing there all the time, stirring, it would burn!

  21. Marilyn from New York

    Gi, I would say that it’s apple butter as a friend of mine who is Mennonite makes hers this time a year. She uses a large pot like that.

  22. Judy Grober

    Once a year occasion

    I think it is soap

  23. Jessica

    Do they make maple syrup in Ohio?

  24. Lisa

    I think it is lye soap as well.

  25. Mona G.

    I would say making maple syrup as I think this is only done once a year when they get the sap from the trees….

    And you can make moonshine anytime…..not just once a year LOL….

    I remember reading somewhere that the Amish does make homemade soap….but I don’t think they can only make it one time a year….

    Ok Erik, what is the correct answer???? Don’t keep us waiting too long…..LOL

  26. My first thought was carmel corn.

    My wife makes soap in the house, which would have to be much easier than outside. If you are not looking at it while you stir it, how do you know when it reaches trace?

  27. Karen Pollard

    Are they butchering hogs??

  28. Leon @ Organically Thought

    New blogger

    Hey every one we are new to blogging and we just posted a request for people to share something anything maybe about there plans for the weekend ora good link or to promote something. IF you can help us get some activity we would be very grateful. You can find the post here http://organicallythought.com/3-day-weekend-hear all spam protection is turned off so go ahead and leave as many links as you like lol

  29. marie b

    I would say its apple butter stir’n season. Do they have it hooked up to something, so that is it constantly being stirred?? Maple syrup is usually in the late winter early spring. So I would say apple butter…I can taste it, on toast with some amish peanut butter spread. Oh please take me there. Marie, windsor Ontario Canada

  30. Slightly-handled-Order-man

    Looked like a giant omelet sticking out to me.
    I have a friend who peddles a semi-local apple butter maker’s wears at an event we both volunteer at, he always sells the smallest bottles you can get, but you can get much bigger.
    Do you think apple butter is a Germanic thing? My father complains that the stores that cater to the Italian community won’t sell it, but you have to go to a German food store to get some, locally.

  31. Apple Butter it is!

    All you folks who said apple butter, well done. They were boiling it down here, I can’t recall the exact volume, but what they originally had in there was going to get cut in about half when it had been boiled down and condensed. This family runs a small store on their property as well where they sell the butter along with a wide variety of other foods, baked goods, etc.

    The smell of this process was what reeled me over–a mix of baking apple and the earthy sweetness of burning wood. Had to get a jar then–see above where I’ve update the post with a photo of the final product!

  32. Jessica

    Yum! Makes me jealous that we don’t have that down here. Care to share? 😉