L&S Gardens, 50808 S Huntington Road
If you grew up with rhubarb pie, you might not realize that rhubarb is hardly a one-trick pony, and Oregon’s only rhubarb festival illuminates the versatility of this herbaceous perennial. Rhubarb is not only useful in many different foodstuffs but also intriguing in that its leaves are actually poisonous while the reddish-colored stocks are edible. These stocks look a lot like celery stocks in general shape, but rhubarb and celery are unrelated and rhubarb is known for its tart flavor. Rhubarb tends to be hardy and able to thrive in colder climate zones; it is generally harvested in late spring and early summer, and Oregon is one of the key states for growing rhubarb. Its culinary use is rather recent, dating back to nineteenth-century Great Britain, where it was a popular ingredient in deserts and for making wine.
Rhubarb Festival (Aka High Desert Rhubarb Festival) – USA Festivals Photo Gallery
Since then, rhubarb has found its way into many different edibles and some nonedibles, which is the nexus for the Rhubarb Festival. Attended annually by about 2,000 people and hosted by author, master gardener, and rhubarb expert
Linda Stephenson at her L&S Gardens in Linda Stephenson is the host of
La Pine, the Rhubarb Festival (aka High La Pine’s Rhubarb Festival.
Desert Rhubarb Festival) features rhubarb served in every imaginable incarnation—be sure to arrive hungry.
This popular event, in partnership with the community and its many nonprofits, features dozens of vendors selling myriad rhubarb products and many other wares, live music throughout the day, a rhubarb dessert contest, a rhubarb main-dish cook-off, and even a rhubarb beer home-brew competition (with proceeds donated to one of the nonprofits). Admission only requires a donation of at least one canned food good per person (as a donation to a local nonprofit), but bring plenty of cash for nominal tasting fees and irresistible goods, both edible and otherwise, available from the eclectic array of vendors.
La Pine offers a variety of lodging options, Sunriver and Bend are a short distance north, campgrounds abound in the surrounding Deschutes National Forest, and the several RV campgrounds are within easy reach of the festival. For local information, consult the La Pine Chamber of Commerce, (541) 536-9771, www.lapine.org.
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