Rhubarb nurtured by nature – it’s the stalk of the town!
May the Forced Rhubarb be with you
Something is stirring ‘Up North’. In West Yorkshire to be precise.
In darkened sheds lit only by candlelight and it's perfectly legal.
Forced Rhubarb is the name of the game grown in the renowned
Rhubarb Triangle between Bradford, Wakefield and Leeds. Away from natural light
Rhubarb becomes sweeter, more tender, more familiar pink and also much tastier
than its outdoor brothers and sisters.
Yorkshire's Rhubarb Triangle has been around since the late 19th
century. Once home to hundreds of farms, production peaked during WW1 and WW2.
Sadly, only a handful of producers have survived.
Rhubarb is planted outside between September and March and
spends two years in situ. In late November(ish) the plant is dug up from the
fields and in an exhaustive labour intensive operation moved into darkened
purpose built sheds, lit only by candlelight. The result is much taller and
straighter Rhubarb as it seeks the energy inducing light.
Forced Rhubarb is available in shops and farm shops from the end
of November until the end of April. It is so good that it has received
protected name status.
Never ever missing a trick when money and publicity is involved -
it is Yorkshire after all - the canny Tykes are celebrating this wonderful
vegetable. Yes it is a veg not a fruit. Welcome to the Wakefield
Festival of Food, Drink & Rhubarb 2018. Held over three days – 23-25 Feb
2018 - it is a celebration of these unique pink sticks of loveliness. Celebrity
chefs, food and cooking displays, walks and trails, street theatre and many
more activities all Rhubarb related. And a bonus – entry is free!
Fancy a Rhubarb Experience in a Yorkshire Rhubarb Forcing Shed?
Discover what actually goes on in the dark. Be enlightened with a tour by Janet
Oldroyd Hulme. £7.50 gets you a two hour tour and talk from one of the top
producers in the county. The history of the veg from 2700 BC right up to the
present day. Take a loved one. It's a candlelight experience and with Valentine’s
Day fast approaching it might be the start of a romantic day! Last tour of the
year is Thursday 16th March. Booking is essential 0113 282 2245.
If you can't get to the festival don't despair. The History of
Rhubarb exhibition is at Wakefield Museum until 22 June 2018.