This years Rhubarb Festival will be a 3-day event, running from from Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th February. This year is going to be bigger and better than ever with a market in the Cathedral precinct, cookery demonstrations, walks and tours.
Wakefield was traditionally the centre of rhubarb growing with the Rhubarb Triangle covering the Wakefield, East Ardsley, Rothwell, Carlton and Morley areas. For over 150 years the fruit has been growing here, as conditions were ideal. There was plenty of local fuel – coal, and a large number of market gardeners.
A large amount of rhubarb was grown in ‘forcing sheds’, they bring an early crop and some can still be seen locally. It is said that in the sheds, lit only by candles you can hear the rhubarb growing and as candles are moved to keep the rhubarb straight the light green tops turn to face the light – this could be the noise heard by the growers as the leaves are still uncurling. themselves
Years ago rhubarb was sent to Leeds on overnight trains full of rhubarb for the London markets. Along with Champagne, Parma Ham, Yorkshire Rhubarb has protected status and joins British foods such as the Melton Mowbray pork pie, Stilton cheese, Arbroath Smokies and Jersey Royal potatoes to name just a few.
p.s. keep the event quiet as I want to be able to get a parking space!!
Wakefield – history and heritage here
For information and tours visit here E Oldroyd & Sons