Butter Shaken, Not Churned at Farmington Museum

October 7, 2023

On the first day of autumn, local families had the chance to fall into history at the Farmington Museum’s annul “Real Night at the Museum” spectacular, where old-time Bluegrass music played while biscuits baked beneath live coals, and local apples were pressed by children for a taste of juice at its best. Kids also had a blast building a log cabin and washing clothes on an old-fashioned washboard. Farmington became very populated in the 1860’s and 1870’s. It’s a quaint time period of the town before all the oil booms. By Donna K. Hewett. This story is sponsored by Home2Suites and The Big Idea Makerspace at San Juan College

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What better way to appreciate the past than to live it? On the first day of Autumn, local families had the chance to fall into history at the Farmington Museum's Annual Real Night at the Museum Spectacular, where old time bluegrass music played, while biscuits baked beneath hot coals, and apples were pressed by children for a taste of juice at its best. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Home 2 Suites and the Big Idea Maker Space at San Juan College. I'm Gillian Arnwine.

The museum has been doing this, I think about 12 years in a row now, and this is kind of the museum's feel-good event of the year, you know? We'd have all kinds of activities based on history, things that people did every day, like making butter or baking biscuits or making apple cider, because this was one of the biggest apple-producing areas in the country.

Culture and traditions are the foundations upon which children can begin to build their identity, traditions like pressing whole apples into fresh juice during the apple harvest.

Okay, so you're going to come over here, you're going to hold this, turn it this way. Alright, you got it, you got it. Keep crushing them. There we go. It's going to be worth it for the juice.

Do old-fashioned soda biscuits pressed into a crock pot and baked beneath coals taste better than those cooked in a modern oven?

Yeah, you can have one.

I don't know if it tastes better, but that's the way people did it. We're doing the way people did in the 1860s and seventies when Farmington was started. The people living here didn't have stoves with ovens.

Kids had a blast trying to build a log cabin and stamping leather with special designs. Some seemed to particularly enjoy washing clothes on a washboard, but the strangest chore to be witnessed was butter made shaken, not churned.

What we're doing today is we're taking whole cream, we're putting it in this little container here, and you can add salt if you like. You don't have to. A lot of people are watching their salt intake. You shake it for about four to six minutes. At first, it turns into a heavy whipping cream, then it continues separating, then it turns into the butter, as Sean has showed you right here, where you have the hard butter left.

And whey.

And whey.

It wasn't until the late 1800s that Farmingtown, later shortened to Farmington, began to flourish with a strong farm and ranch economy. With all the families who attended the annual event, it appears the tradition of teaching kids about the past is well and alive. For more information on this and other stories, go to farmingtonlocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of The Local News Network. I'm Gillian Arnwine.


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