All other things being equal — like the beautiful weather or the success of this year’s apple harvest — organizers of this year’s Apple Day hope to break the 2011 apple gleaning record of 4,400 pounds donated to food banks in the Washington, DC, area.
And they’re counting on the power of Gladys the “Super Squirrel.”
“We wanted people to know why we started Apple Day,” said Sophomore Class President Meagan Barron, explaining why the Class of 2015 chose to highlight a superhero version of the college mascot in this year’s Apple Day theme.
“An Apple a Day … Keeps Hunger Away,” is the slogan on the back of the Apple Day 2012 T-shirts, accompanied by a drawing of a superhero version of Gladys who is answering a sort-of “bat signal,” to help stock the food bank with apples.
Scheduled for October 2, Apple Day continues a tradition that was established during World War II, when Mary Baldwin students spent a fall afternoon picking more than 1,000 bushels of apples to last the college through the winter. By 1946, the annual apple-picking ritual incorporated face painting and coincided with the college’s fall picnic. Soon, the campus community referred to the fall festival as Apple Day. Through the years, students used the event to raise money for much-needed campus improvements, to welcome the freshman class, and, eventually, to serve as a day without classes dedicated to community service and fun.
This year’s activities begin Monday night — or Apple Eve — with dodge ball, a disc jockey, glow-in-the-dark games, a bonfire, s’mores, and mocktails at the Physical Activities Center.
Those who want to get an early start on Apple Day are planning to depart the Student Activities Center (SAC) at 7:30 a.m. to travel to Woodbine Farms near Strasburg. Others plan to stay on campus and work on a community service project through the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement.
As part of the tradition, faculty, staff, and students will savor a mouth-watering, apple-inspired brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lyda B. Hunt Dining Hall and enjoy a carnival — sponsored by various college clubs and organizations — in the SAC parking lot. Featured attractions at this year’s carnival include a mechanical bull, laser tag, and photo booths.
“There are no classes, and we’re bringing together the whole school,” Barron said. “It’s so much fun.”
Can’t decide if you want to indulge in something sweet or savory on Apple Day? Check out these recipes from Mary Baldwin’s own Hunt Dining Hall for apple cuisine inspiration:
*Apples can be prepped ahead of time and soaked in water and lemon juice to prevent browning.
4 large Gala or Lady apples
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup ground cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp allspice
4 Tbsp butter
½ cup heavy cream
3 oz Apple Jack or Calvados Brandy
- Wash, peel, core, and slice apples into wedges.
- Place a large heavy-bottom skillet on stove and preheat on medium-high heat.
- Combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
- Add butter to skillet, as butter melts add sugar mixture to pan and stir until sugar begins to dissolve.
- Add sliced apples to pan stir in again until sugar begins getting syrupy and apples soften.
- Add heavy cream and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
- Remove pan from heat and add liquor. Return pan to heat. Ignite liquor by tilting pan towards open flame or with a long handled lighter/match stick.
- Serve immediately on a plate with a slice of short bread and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- For added flare, serve as apples are still flaming.
Twice Baked Apple and Sausage Stuffed Potatoes
*Potatoes can be prepped and stuffed the day before service to save time.
6 red new potatoes
1 tsp sea or kosher salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
½ cup olive oil
10 oz ground pork breakfast sausage
2 whole Gala or Lady apples, peeled, cored, and minced
2⁄3 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 large egg
½ cup bread crumbs
¼ cup minced yellow onion
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Wash potatoes and pat dry. In a bowl, coat potatoes in oil, salt, pepper, and thyme then place on a baking sheet.
- Place in preheated oven and cook just until they can be easily pierced with a fork, about 18–20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool long enough so they may be handled comfortably.
- Using a paring knife, slice off the tops of each potato. Using a melon baller, remove a good portion of the insides of each potato. Hollow out enough to make room for the stuffing.
- In a separate bowl, combine sausage, apples, cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, and onion.
- Using hands, incorporate until thoroughly mixed, similar to meatloaf consistency.
- Fill the hollowed-out potatoes with the sausage filling and return to 350°F oven until inside of potato registers at 165°F, approximately 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and snipped chives.
- Serve warm.