KEENE — Joe Oreface of North Branch Farms in Riverview grew the rutabaga that won first prize at the fifth-annual Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival.
It weighed in at 28 pounds.
“I grow rutabagas as a crop for people to eat, but generally they are hard to sell,” said Oreface of the oft-maligned vegetable.
But several hundred people turned out for the festival at Marcy Field on a recent beautiful fall day.
Events included the Rutabaga 5K Fun Run, live music by the Greenbeans, the High Peaks Hula Hoop Championships, the Fetch-a-’Baga competition for dogs, a “Mr. ‘Bagahead” decorating contest for kids and the jolly presence of Penelope the Clown.
World-class chefs served samples of creative rutabaga dishes, among them pear-and-rutabaga bisque from Simply Gourmet of Lake Placid; rutabaga raisin muffins from the Cedar Run in Keene; rutabaga ice cream from The View in Lake Placid; and rutabaga-bison hash, as well as a rutabaga granola bar, created by Generations of Lake Placid.
Displays and educational exhibits were part of the day, too.
The rutabaga is classified as a root vegetable that originated as a cross between the cabbage and the turnip.
The recent event was sponsored by Adirondack Harvest, the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative, the Town of Keene and the Fallen Arch.
The day’s crowning moment took place when Laurie Davis of Adirondack Harvest presented the raiment of regal purple to Alana and Tom Both as 2012 rutabaga king and queen.
The Boths have worked tirelessly over the years to bring the festival to fruition, or, one might say, “vegetation.”
Email Alvin Reiner: email@example.com