Sandy Saulsbury has a posse of apple-peeling, apple-slicing and apple-crisp-assembling friends who help her make hundreds of frozen apple crisp desserts that are sold at craft fairs — and from her deep freeze — every fall.
“We make them as long as we have apples and the energy,” said Saulsbury, who is 83 and shows no sign of slowing down.
From 1990 to 2004 she and her late husband, Jimmy, owned and operated Jimmy Appleseed Orchard in Spicer.
“We worked really hard at the orchard, but it was a lot of fun,” she said. Her grandchildren grew up there.
After a devastating hail storm hit the orchard in 1996, the Saulsbury’s and their crew of employees, family members and friends started making apple pies and apple crisp with the damaged apples.
After they sold the orchard in 2004, they made apple crisps from their home and scaled back their production considerably.
Jimmy died in 2017 but Sandy continues to make apple crisps with the help of her long-time friends who join her in her tidy garage a couple days each week during apple season.
While John Scheevel uses a battery-powered drill to turn the apple peeler and his wife, Connie, cuts away any brown spots from the apples, Sandy is at the other end of the garage mixing up the magic crumble topping that consists of flour, sugar and butter.
Deb Pikus, who used to work at the orchard during the apple heyday, assembles the crisps with a heaping helping of apples and sugar and cinnamon, topped with a mound of crumble topping.
The crisps are frozen and sold for $12 each to people who’ve been eating Sandy’s apple crisps for years.
Instructions are to place the frozen apple crisps on a non-insulated baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for at least an hour.
After peeling, slicing, mixing and assembling about a dozen crisps, the crew stops for coffee and a piece fresh apple crisp Sandy just took out of the oven.
“This is why I do this,” said John Scheevel, digging into the warm crisp with sincere appreciation of the treat.
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