My grandfather Edmund Makin grew Yorkshire rhubarb in its heyday in the 1950s when 200 growers in the rhubarb triangle provided 90% of the world’s forced rhubarb. Today, just a handful of growers are left in Yorkshire and I want to do my bit to help this traditional Yorkshire crop thrive.
The vibrant pink spears can be used for rhubarb compotes in yogurts and smoothies, baking, and even artisan gin! In 2010, Yorkshire rhubarb was awarded a PDO status, granting it protected status like Parma ham or Feta cheese.
The rhubarb triangle is nine-square-mile area between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell. From January to March we will be picking by hand, by candlelight, so that the delicate stems are not turned green and hard by photosynthesis. This ensures we are keeping that prized flavour!
Rhubarb is native to Siberia and likes the cold, the rain and soil rich in nitrogen. All are found in abundance here in Yorkshire! Cuttings are taken from mature plants two years earlier, then allowed to mature in fields before they are brought inside for forcing. Because the stems must be removed from the root, the work is still done by hand, a highly labour-intensive and skilled process.
I love the vivid “Barbie pink” colours it produces when cooked. Rhubarb is such fantastic flavour, it works in a range of partnership products, so look out for new things very soon! It’s also a key ingredient for my other brand Tame & Wild, featuring in the Rhubarb and Eldberry sparkling drink.