Annual Cauliflower Festival Saturday in Margaretville

Margaretville — The seventh annual Margaretville Cauliflower Festival this Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Village Park is a celebration of food, history and rural living. The free festival, which runs rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., pays tribute to an era when cauliflower production played an important role in the region’s social and economic life.
Sponsored by the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce and Kids in the Katskills, the free event includes cooking demonstrations, history exhibits, horse logging demonstrations, cider making and much more to celebrate the agricultural heritage of the Catskills.
Instructors and students from the SUNY Delhi Hospitality Department will prepare cauliflower and rice pudding, butternut squash soup and other delectables. Jenny and Dick Liddle, who raise grass fed beef on their Halcottsville farm, will prepare a beef dish using cauliflower. Of course, spectators will get to sample the dishes hot off the range.
Cauliflower soup, quiche and wraps, and more traditional fare like hot dogs, barbeque and fried dough, will be available from local restaurants and food vendors. Maple syrup and cider making demos will be conducted by Catskill Forestry Association (CFA) staff, while maple memorabilia loaned by the VanBenschoten family will be on view.
Meanwhile, in the History Tent, the Historical Society of the Town of Middletown will host “When Cauliflower Was King,” an exhibit that explains the cauliflower growing industry which flourished from the 1890s through the 1950s, and lasted into the 1990s. Cool nights, mild days and mineral-rich soils produced premium grade cauliflower and Brussels sprouts which were sold to markets throughout the Northeast, providing supplemental income to small dairy farmers in the Catskills.
A book and video on this subject will be sold in the Chamber of Commerce tent at the festival.
A new exhibit in the History Tent will show how the business of dairying supported the Catskills economy for many decades. Photographs, milk bottles and cans and memorabilia from some two dozen creameries in and around Middletown will be displayed. Festival goers are asked to bring creamery-related items to help fill in the gaps of our knowledge of these once-vitally important elements of Catskill communities.
At 11:45 a.m. a parade of antique and contemporary tractors will allow visitors an up-close view of these indispensable tools of the farm.
In the Forestry Tent, sponsored by the CFA, exhibits will offer information for landowners from such organizations as the Watershed Agricultural Council’s Forestry Program, the Catskill Landowners Association and the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County’s Agroforestry Resource Center.
The Delaware County Soil & Water Conservation District will bring its Watershed Flow Model to demonstrate the effects of various flood scenarios on stream banks and floodplains. The NYC DEC, the Catskill Mountain Club, the NYS Trappers Association and the Quality Deer Management Assoc. will also be on hand to provide information and take questions from visitors on everything ranging from invasive insects to the best places to hike with children.
At the new Wellness Tent, blood pressure checks will be provided and health information offered. Members of Margaretville Memorial Hospital’s Wellness Com- mittee will hand out material on ways to improve your quality of life by participating in community organizations and activities.
Certainly an appreciation of the arts is central to an enjoyable life, and the Arts Tent will feature many examples of this, from turned wood and jewelry to ceramics and fabric art. Community organizations with exhibits will include Heart of the Catskills Humane Society, Fairview Public Library, Margaretville Rotary and Scenic Catskills Ride-n-Peak which is already planning its 2010 bike tours.