The New Covenant Academy’s booth featuring peach shortcake has been a Troy Fair phenomenon for years.
In 1984, Fran Martin, Gladys Alderfer, Jean Powers, Connie Bolt, Jean Casto, Ruth Davis, and Peggy Thomas started the booth. That year they had ice cream sundaes.
“There was ice cream everywhere,” said Martin, who realized it wasn’t the best idea. “It was too hot and sticky.”
After serving peach shortcake to company, Fran and her sister thought that it was such a hit; why not try it at the Troy Fair?
“The first year we made six 9 X 13 cakes for the whole week,” said Martin. “By 2017 we were doing at least 250 cakes.”
According to Martin, each cake is cut into 18 servings. That year, they used 25 bushels of peaches and served 4,500 short cakes.
Why the popularity? Martin thinks it’s because it’s early in the peach season. People haven’t had real fresh peaches yet. She also thought it was because they peel the peaches right there at the booth so people can see how fresh and juicy they are.
In 2013 they added blueberry shortcake. At about the same time they started serving peach and blueberry milkshakes.
In addition to those delectable fruit desserts, New Covenant serves breakfast sandwiches made up of sausage, egg and cheese. They have hamburgers, hot dogs, cold drinks and coffee. Last year’s daily specials included scalloped potatoes and ham, chicken and biscuits, goulash, potato soup, and macaroni and cheese.
Their tented area accommodates patrons, providing seats at tables with beautiful centerpieces.
All the volunteers who work the booth during the fairs are parents, students, friends and relatives. The proceeds are to support The New Covenant Academy, a private Christian school in Mansfield. The parent volunteers made the floral centerpieces on Sunday last year, and in time for the opening of the fair.
Lisa McBratney, along with her husband, has worked at the New Covenant booth since 2004.
“If not behind the counter, I’ll be sitting peeling peaches,” said McBratney. “I’ll be doing this until I physically can’t anymore.”
Martin and McBratney are so busy the week before the fair getting everything ordered and ready. It’s the week of the fair they thoroughly enjoy.
“I see so many people,” said Martin.
“I love the week of,” said McBratney. “It is work, but I don’t feel like it is work. We’re visiting all day long.”
“It’s a fundraiser,” added McBratney. “But we’re in the community.”
“It’s a community connection,” said Martin.
Last year’s peaches were especially good and juicy from Bristol’s Produce in Troy.
“When I come to the Troy Fair, it’s on the top of my list of things to have at the fair,” said Barb Yanchuk who was having her second day of peach shortcake.
Jack Andrus broke the fair record for eating the most peach shortcakes.
“He has at least one every day of the fair,” said McBratney.
“My record was 12 in one week,” replied Jack Andrus. “So the following year I had 13 just to break my own record.”