Cider in jugs, fruit tumbling from baskets, decorative gourds and a variety of other fall decorations, freshly baked apple pie, apple cupcakes and apple crisp, as well as a variety of ripe apples all came together to aid in providing a harvest season atmosphere for the autumn meeting of the Somerset County Pomona Grange.
Wills Grange hosted the event Oct. 5 at the Somerset Rural Electric Cooperative's community room. The program theme: "Autumn Belongs to Apples" was both educational and entertaining as the members of the Kingwood, Hillcrest and Wills Granges gathered for their quarterly session. William H. Ringler, Past Master of the Pennsylvania State Grange, provided the welcome.
With Pomona Master Jim Mowry presiding, the meeting opened with the officers' roll call during which time they shared about favorite apples or apple desserts as well as favorite orchards they enjoy visiting or had the option to share memories that pertain to the apple season. By the time the apple pie alamode and other tasty desserts were ready to be served, the audience agreed with the program's thrust that "autumn belongs to apples."
Esther Mowry, Pomona pianist, accompanied the opening song, "This is My Father's World."
Officers for Pomona, Wills, Kingwood and Hillcrest Granges for the upcoming two-year term were installed by Mowry. The year 2013 will be Somerset County Pomona Grange's official 124th year, although there was a decade in the early 1900s when the county unit lay dormant.
David R. Hay, program director, was assisted by numerous Grangers presenting various program activities. Seven members assisted in an educational feature that shared which varieties of apples are best suited for certain purposes. Participants and their categories were: Jim Torrence, baking apples; Larry Rhoads, applesauce and puree; Donna Rhoads, salads; Eldon Sechler, meat dishes; Florence Shaffer, snacking; Cherie Fritz, all purpose; and Nancy Boucher, pairings.
Esther Mowry sang, "Don't Sit under the Apple Tree" and led the audience in a contest of unscrambling letters to reveal the names of 25 varieties of apples that Americans enjoy eating, using to make applesauce, and for baking many special pies and other treats. Receiving apple-related prizes for having 13 or more apple varieties were Florence Shaffer, Cherie Fritz, Virginia Hay, Louise Dumbauld, John Kreger, Betsy Kreger and Mary Nicklow. Door prizes also featured a variety of apple-related prizes.
The program also included group singing of ""How Great Thou Art."
Grangers reminisced about the summerhouse on the former Fred Airsman farm in Jenner Township where the former Jenner Grange members met in the early 1960s for their regular meetings. Several pictures related to the summerhouse and former Jenner Grange members circulated the meeting room.
Virginia Hay, chaplain of the Hillcrest Grange, conducted a memorial service for nine patrons of Somerset County who passed away during the past year. Those remembered were Rita Kreger and Martha Pletcher, both of Kingwood Grange; Leon J. Knepper, James M. Jacobs, Harold H. Lambert, Lois Duppstadt, Ethel Shaffer and Melba Emert, all of Wills Grange, and Helen Sipe, a long-time member of Milford Grange.