Visit Wakefield in February and listen carefully and you might hear the creaking sound of rhubarb growing in the darkened sheds of the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’. This part of West Yorkshire is renowned for producing the finest forced rhubarb to be found anywhere and a foodie festival has sprung up to celebrate the moment the pink fronds of this sweet vegetable push their way up through the earth.
Yorkshire forced rhubarb has Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status in the same way as Stilton cheese or Melton Mowbray pork pie and grows in long, low heated sheds. The lack of daylight gives the stalks, which are harvested by candlelight, a crimson colour with pale yellow leaves.
Visitors flock to the festival to sample elaborate rhubarb dishes, watch cookery demonstrations, tour the forcing sheds and enjoy street entertainment, guided walks and food and drink stalls.