Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Crumbs, it's Wakefield Rhubarb!

Everybody loves a rhubarb crumble...but did you know that Wakefield is part of the rhubarb growing triangle?  Rhubarb has played an important part of the local economy for over 150 years.  For more information about the Rhubarb Growing triangle see: Rhubarb Growing

View inside a forced rhubarb shed

A rhubarb splitting tool used at Brandy Carr Nurseries

Rhubarb packing box used by Brandy Carr Nurseries

To celebrate our connection to this lovely vegetable, Wakefield holds an annual Food, Drink & Rhubarb festival.  The festival this year has even more tasty treats and entertainment planned than ever before.  It takes place in Wakefield City centre and runs from Friday 21 February  to Sunday 23 February,10am - 5pm on Friday and Saturday and 10am - 4pm on the Sunday.

For more infomation about the festival visit: Wakefield Food, Drink & Rhubarb Festival

At the festival there will be lots of stalls selling rhubarb related goods...maybe there will be some rhubarb wine....
Rhubarb wine from 1886

Rhubarb has also been used medicinally over the years:

Glass chemist's storage jar - rhubarb powder was used as a laxative

Recipe, 1890 - 1910, for curing cholera which includes rhubarb powder

If you decide to visit the festival, why not pop into Wakefield Museum as well, where you can hear forced rhubarb growing (it makes an eerie creaking and popping sound!), see some rhubarb objects from our collection and have a go on the Rhubarb Express...

The Rhubarb Express carried up to 200 tons of forced rhubarb from Ardsley station to the London markets of Covent Garden and Spitalfields when production was at its peak in the 1930s.

The train ran every weekday night during the forced rhubarb season between Christmas and Easter. The last Rhubarb Express left Ardsley station in 1966

This Rhubarb Express illustration by artist Liz Kay can be found under a play train in Wakefield Museum
For a yummy taster of what you can find at Wakefield Museum see Ruby Rhubarb talking rhubarb at the Museum: Ruby Rhubarb at Wakefield Museum

Wakefield’s famous rhubarb has joined the hallowed ranks of Europe’s protected foods, with the same status as Champagne and Parma Ham.  The festival in Wakefield is well worth a visit.

Rhubarb pie postcard, 1925 - 1945.

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