Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Ithaca Tradition: The Int'l Rutabaga Curl

This Saturday marks the 12th annual Rutabaga Curl and the last outdoor farmers market of the season at Steamboat Landing.

What's a rutabaga? And, furthermore, what's a rutabaga curl?

A rutabaga is a large root vegetable that is related to turnips and cabbages and tastes slightly sweet. To prepare it, I usually peel it, cut it into pieces, boil it, and mash it, sometimes adding a potato or an apple and a little maple syrup or cream. Roasting with other vegetables drizzled with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper is also a great option.

But never mind what I do with rutabagas. Others have created an annual tradition and sport with them.

This Saturday (12/19/2009), more than 100 contestants are expected to roll rutabagas 79 feet toward a target to vie for the gold medal. Contestants under 8 years of age will compete in a separate category known as the turnip toss. Registration begins at 10:45 and rutabagas start rolling at noon. And, the fun is not just reserved for the contestants -- The Rutabaga Chorus will sing, athletes will parade, a torch will be lit. For rules, photos, and a history of the contest, check out the official website.

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