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Apple peeler, 59, has no equal at Harvest festival

October 21, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A line of contestants appeared on each side of 59-year-old Lorraine Davis during the apple-peeling contest at the 23rd annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival Sunday afternoon.

But there was no way they could out-peel this country girl.

The contestants were given 15 minutes to cut the longest apple peel.

Using her favorite vegetable peeler, Davis cut a string of apple peel 22 feet, 2 1/2 inches long.

Davis, who has won the contest about five times over the years, said she developed her peeling expertise while growing up on her family's dairy farm in the Nipetown area in northern Berkeley County.

Davis and her six siblings were often assigned chores at the farm, and Davis remembered days peeling potatoes in her mother's kitchen.

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"Mother had us working in the kitchen when we were in the fourth and fifth grade," said Davis, who won $50 for her first-place finish.

Davis took first place despite arthritis that flares up in her fingers. The apple she was given was so big that she rested it on her chest while she methodically inched around the fruit with her peeler.

After the contest, she pulled out a napkin and unrolled it to show her special peeler.

Her husband, Richard, said his wife will not use it until next year's contest.

"In fact, I put it in the car before I went to church (today) so I wouldn't forget it," said Davis, of Martinsburg.

The second-place winner was Brenda Smith, who carved a peel 15 feet, 7 1/2 inches long.

The contest was held at the Berkeley County Youth Fairgrounds along Golf Course Road.

An estimated 8,000 people came out for arts and crafts sales Saturday and Sunday, organizers said.

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