(47) Brown County Apple Butter Showdown

Posted by on October 10, 2011

The weather forecast was predicting a weekend of rain. That didn’t stop Rachel and I from taking the opportunity of a shared weekend off to take the Trailmanor down to Brown County State Park for some change of scenery. This was our first trip to Brown County with the Trailmanor, and the first time I’ve camped at Brown County since childhood.

The campground is very large, consisting of 3 clusters of about 100 sites as you take a windy road through the woods. We checked in about 3pm on Friday afternoon, and got all set up in good time. A trip to the campground general store conveniently located at the entrance to the campgrounds and we were loaded up with firewood for the weekend, and a Brown County magnet to put on the stove in the camper. We’ve tried to pick up a magnet at each of our big adventures as a souvenir and reminder of where we’ve been and the memories made with the Trailmanor.

Fortunately, the only rain Friday fell prior to us departing. We had a nice dinner of roasted dogs and s’mores on the fire. We decided we’d turn in early about 9pm in order to get a head start at the popular shopping in Nashville the next morning. If you’ve never been down in this area, Nashville is just outside the state park, and is a very charming town with a rustic country theme and tons of shops that sell locally made goods from peanut butter fudge to home decorations. I’m not a big fan of decor shopping, but when there’s a fudge/candy/ice cream shop in between each decor shop, I’m quite content!

Most importantly, I’d devised a plan to find every kind of apple butter offered in Nashville. What’s more country-cozy than some warm rolls or toast with apple butter right? And I can’t think of one person who ever passed up some apple butter. So I figured not only for my own curiosity’s sake, I’d be doing the world great justice by sniffing out the best apple butter in Brown County!

So we set off on our journey early Saturday morning, picking up a couple large coffee’s at McDonalds on the way since we’d forgot to restock the camper with coffee (major crisis!). We arrived around 9am, which seemed just about perfect as there was ample parking to be had at the parking lots along the main strip. It seems like most of the shop owners/employees park on the street, as we didn’t see any street spots available as we made one pass down the main road. We did pay $4 to park in a parking lot right in the mix of it all, which turned out to be a great investment since a short walk from the shops you can drop off your shopping acquisitions as they grow too heavy to carry.

At the end of the day, we actually didn’t purchase too much. There was much temptation, but after Rachel and I merging into one house, the last thing we needed was more decor or furniture. We certainly enjoyed the experience of rummaging through antiques, witty wall-signs, and all the new fall decor. We actually had only purchased 4 pairs of socks from a company called “For Bare Feet Originals”, which are made right there in Brown County. Just recently come to find out that their factory had a devastating fire just 2 weeks before on September 10th 2011. It looks like they are considering a new headquarters in Bloomington, IN so let’s hope they stay in Indiana! Seems weird to shop Nashville and only get socks, but we like to inject a little money into the local economy. Especially if we enjoy the area, we like to do our part to help it thrive so that we might get to enjoy it again someday.

Now, socks wasn’t exactly all we left with. We also combed through the shops and found 5 varieties of locally-made apple butter. And this is where the showdown begins! Here’s the contenders in no specific order:


Name:”Baked Apple Butter”

Baked Apple Butter

Manufacturer: Nashville House, Nashville IN
Sold by: Old Country Store @ Nashville House
Size: 8oz
Price: $3.75 ($.47/oz)
Label Notes/Ingredients: Sugar, Cinnamon, Baked in an oven.
Spoon Tasting Notes: It has a somewhat gritty texture, and a moderate to strong cinnamon flavor.
Toast Tasting Notes: Spreads easily, tastes even better on toast.

Name:”Harvest Preserve Apple Butter”

Harvest Preserve Apple Butter

Manufacturer: Candy Dish Incorporated, Nashville IN
Sold by: The Candy Dish
Size: 9oz
Price: $2.99 ($.33/oz)
Label Notes/Ingredients: Apples, Sugar, Spices
Spoon Tasting Notes: Apple-sauce like consistancy, robust taste of fresh cinnamon, smells like fresh cinnamon sticks.
Toast Tasting Notes: More liquidy and thinner spread. Intense cinnamon flavor like a red hot candy but not burning. This apple butter could probably be used more sparingly and last a good while.

Name:”Dillman Farm Apple Butter”

Dillman Farm Apple Butter

Manufacturer: Dillman Farm Inc, Bloomington, IN
Sold by: Kiss The Cook
Size: 14oz
Price: $6.99 ($.50/oz)
Label Notes/Ingredients: Apples, Pure Cane Sugar, Spices
Spoon Tasting Notes: Baby-food like paste texture, very vivid apple flavor.
Toast Tasting Notes: Tastes just like applesauce, fresh red apple taste and smell. Even spread with good consistency. Perhaps a good breakfast blend.

(Apologies for accidentally deleting the Dillman Farm photo and having to conjure up a crude photoshop recreation!)


Name:”Ole House Homestyle Apple Butter”

Ole House Homestyle Apple Butter

Manufacturer: Made For’ Ole House
Sold by: Ole House Too
Size: 19oz
Price: $5.95 ($.31/oz)
Label Notes/Ingredients: Apples, Sugar, Cinnamon, Vineager, Spices
Spoon Tasting Notes: Vineager gives a tart twist, noticable vineagar aroma.
Toast Tasting Notes: Vineager gives a distict taste but doesn’t seem to enhance the apple flavor or sweetness. This apple butter is quite different from the rest, but not a bad tasting option. Seems to have more of a ‘preservative’ taste.

Name:”Brown County Bear Company Apple Butter”

Brown County Bear Company Apple Butter

Manufacturer: Brown County Bear Company
Sold by: Nashville General Store & Bakery
Size: 8oz
Price: $5.25 ($.66/oz)
Label Notes/Ingredients: None, a complete mystery!
Spoon Tasting Notes: Almost odorless, seems to use sour apples and has that sour green apple taste.
Toast Tasting Notes: Thicker spread, goes well with the toast. Sour apple taste is still apparent, but less robust on the toast.

It was a delicious competition, and we were satisfied with all the entrants. Not one apple butter was determined to be a loser, but we still had to rank them based on our individual preference.

Lucas Rachel
#1 Baked Apple Butter Baked Apple Butter
#2 Dillman Farm Apple Butter Dillman Farm Apple Butter
#3 Brown County Bear Company Apple Butter Harvest Preserve Apple Butter
#4 Harvest Preserve Apple Butter Brown County Bear Company Apple Butter
#5 Ole House Homestyle Apple Butter Ole House Homestyle Apple Butter
So there you have it folks! It was a very close competition, and we’re happy to say that every apple butter we found native to the Brown County area was enjoyable. Now, next time you’re in Brown County, perhaps you should pick up a jar and let us know what you think!

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