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Reporter’s Notebook: All things rhubarb at the Prairie Village Museum

By Staff | Jul 2, 2018

It was all things rhubarb, even the wine, Sunday at the Rhubarb Festival in Rugby. There was Rhubarb bars, cakes, pies, jellies, wines and ice cream! All things considered, the ice cream was my favorite. The turnout was excellent and cars packed the parking lot at the Prairie Village Museum’s annual affair.

Susan Steinke, newly elected mayor, turned out with new granddaughter, Amelia, to celebrate with Amelia’s mother, Stephanie, who is the Prairie Village Museum’s director and who has formulated some wonderful exhibits this year including the WWI exhibit which is on display this summer. Susan Steinke was installed as mayor of Rugby June 26.

Rhubarb has long been a North Dakota favorite, and plenty of recipies were on hand to exhibit that.

Dakota Hills winery had three delicious wines for table sampling at the affair. The Strawberry-Rhubarb was so sweet with a little spark of rhubarb in the flavor. My favorite was the Raspberry Rhubarb, so mild yet delicious and it was a surprise.

Dennis Miller was serving up lunch with his red and white checkered apron, which made him look quite fashionable. The ladies served many of the dishes which were 6 portions for $5.00. Where else could you eat that well and cheap? Rugby does eating well.

A few facts about rhubarb you may not know. It seems it’s a fruit in the United States, but actually it’s a vegetable. It’s grown from a root. “It is a herbaceous perennial growing from short, thick rhizomes,” per Wikipedia. But once you grow rhubarb, it is a hearty plant and it can survive even the harshest North Dakota winters to make it back in summer.

Rhubarb is a healthy source of fiber, a source of lutein and Vitamin C, and Vitamin A. It has very little calories in itself it’s that sugar and strawberries you add to it that make up the calories. Rhubarb can be made into sauce, also a good source of fiber; and made into an ice cream sauce that is delicious. The adventurous people have been making various wines for years but locals Dakota Hills Winery has perfected the local market.

One little fact, not often talked about are the rhubarb’s big green leaves, which are generally not recommended as edible items, because they contain oxalic acid and should be considered toxic to humans and pets. Rhubarb itself can cause a laxative side effect when eaten in excess. Enjoy a delicious summer of rhubarb desserts, treats and wine.

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