On Thursday, September 28, the Deerfield Fair opened its gates for the weekend and the first of thousands of visitors began arriving to see exhibits and view competitions.
They also came to eat, and vendors like Joshua Whatmough, who owns the Deerview Orchards apple crisp booth, spent hours each day getting ready to serve them.
For Whatmough that meant putting together pan after pan of apple crisp and one forty-pound bag after another of frozen apples, which he went through in a matter of a few pans.
Whatmough always makes the crisp by hand right there in the back of the stand, using frozen peeled apples and homemade crisp mix that he mixes with melted margarine.
He bakes about six pans at a time.
“I don’t know how long they actually take to cook, it’s just instinct when to pull them out,” Whatmough said. “For all I know they cook for different times.”
According to the Deerfield Fair web site, all vendors must be open by eight a.m. every day.
Whatmough got to the grounds around seven to start making and cooking the apple crisp.
Because it takes longer than thirty minutes for the pans to cook, apple cider is the top seller in the morning.
Deerview Orchard offered it hot, cold or mixed hot-and-cold so it didn’t scorch the tongue or freeze one’s insides.
The cups come in one size, but it has been known to be delicious to the point of customers coming back and getting seconds, as well as thirds, not only on the cider as well as the crisp.
At left, Whatmough and his brother, Ryan Whatmough, hang in the front of the booth early Friday morning.
The frigid air worked its way through their sweatshirts so each one drank a hot apple cider.
It has been years since both brothers have worked at the stand together. “I was low on people working for me, so I called my brother, asking for some help and he showed up this morning before I even got here,” Josh Whatmough said.
“I figured I’d come in for a few hours this morning until he gets more workers here, then go home and take a nap before coming back to the fair tonight,” said Ryan Whatmough.
Later in the day Josh Whatmough got a visit from his son, Ethan David, who is spending the day with his mother Carly Whatmough, a coordinator in one of the Arts and Crafts building.
Ethan David was very emotional and grumpy until he saw his dad, who was quick to cheer him up by offering him an apple as well as a big hug.
“Here big guy, want an apple?”
Ethan will be two in December, but is already biting into apples, as well as drinking cold apple cider.
Later in the day Friday, Bethany Young and Stephanie Crawford came in to help Josh Whatmough run the booth and give his brother a break.
On the way to grab some fair food himself, Ryan Whatmough stopped at the front of the booth to chat with the women.
“What did the skeleton say to the other skeleton?” After a pause he delivered the punchline:”Is that you coffin?”
“You’re quite the jokester,” Crawford told him.
By Saturday night Josh Whatmough was in the back of the stand looking over the dairy bill trying to figure out how much to order for Sunday.
He gets his ice cream and whipped cream delivered daily by a vendor within the grounds. “ I am trying to figure out how much to order for tomorrow,” he said.
“It was rainy today so we still have a few ice creams left, but only two cans of whipped. We are still selling so I am guessing we won’t have any whipped left.”
He went over how much he had left, how much he had sold.
Then it was a guessing game.
“The weather is supposed to be really nice tomorrow, so I will order a few more than I usually would.”
By Sunday night at eight, all the vendors were closing their stands and tents. The fair was coming to an end.
Rachel Hutchinson, Michael Langevin and Myles Hogan all stood in the booth, waiting for stragglers to walk by.
“Get your apple crisp here!” Langevin shouted, trying to sell what’s in the last few pans in the warmer.
He doesn’t normally work in the stand, but he filled in for most of the day when the staff was down a person. “One for five, two for ten!” he yelled.
Hutchinson laughed. Spirits remained high, even though everybody was exhausted and thinking about having to go to work the following day.