Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Ithaca Farmers Market celebrates last selling day of the year with Rutabaga Curl

Press Release from the Ithaca Farmers Market:


ITHACA -The Ithaca Farmers Market will be celebrating its roots once again this year by tossing them about as athletes from all over the globe vie in epic fashion for the gold medal, silver, or bronze. The competition will be stiff. Nate Nicholson, last year's Gold medal winner, has just returned to Ithaca from his goodwill world tour. Even though nobody has ever successfully defended their title, Nate has vowed to give it his best shot.

The 2011 14th annual International Rutabaga Curling World Championship will be held at the Ithaca Farmers' Market last selling day on Saturday, Dec 17. Registration for athletes will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. A $5 registration fee for the event includes your market grown rutabaga which we encourage you all to take home and thoroughly enjoy in a post games warm bowl of soup! Robin Ostfeld from Blue Heron Farm in Lodi, site of our official breeding program to produce genetically superior curling rutabagas tells us that this year they expect the biggest crop of official Curl rutabagas ever, especially grown with love and daily massage treatments for rounder profiles.

The Games open at high noon upon the arrival of the rutabaga torch borne by a toga-clad Dennis Hartley of Littletree Farms who will run the final leg of the torch run on its journey from "Mt. Cruciferous." Christi Sobel,The Rutabaga Goddess leads the assembled throng in a moving "Parade of the Athletes."

This year’s ceremonial opening rutabaga toss will feature Doug Derraugh, coach of the Cornell Women’s Hockey Team. The games are closely monitored by our referees, and our esteemed announcer will be Peter McDonald of McDonald Farms. Don’t miss the Vociferous Cruciferous Chorus in their rousing rendition of George Frederic Handel’s “The Rutabaga Chorus.”

First event up will be the Turnip Toss for athletes 8 years old and younger who find the heft of the rutabaga a bit too much to handle. After this event we have 3 rounds of Rutabaga Curling with the top 5 finishers from each round advancing to the nail biting Final Round.

For more information, visit or on our Facebook page at

The Rutabaga Curl has been featured on the pages of many illustrious internet publications, as well as in National Geographic, and is such an ensconced, Ithaca tradition that it even has its own protesters, who annually demand justice for the cruelly treated vegetables.

History of the Rutabaga Curl: The sport of Rutabaga Curling was born on a cold December 1996 Market day, the last market day of the season. The few vendors present (perhaps 25 or so this time of year and point in our history) huddled together for warmth and camaraderie waiting for an occasional customer. Talk at some point in the day turned to unusual winter sports. Curling of course came up in conversation. None of us knew the rules; but before we knew it vendors' wares were being "hurled" or "curled" down the market's wooden floor. Potatoes, cinnamon rolls, cabbages, loaves of bread, and even frozen chickens were fair game in this impromptu outburst. There were no particular rules this day; we were going for style, distance, and laughs. But Steve Sierigk, one of the vendors present that fateful day and currently the self-proclaimed "Most Esteemed Grand Commissioner of the International Rutabaga Curl", saw potential in the innocent play. The next market season Commissioner Steve codified rules and designed a court of play using market's wooden floor. In 1997 an early form of our sport was born which allowed contestants to throw most any projectile available at market, although rutabagas were supplied. Commissioner Steve astutely recognized the inequities of this first year of organized sport; to level the playing field the Commissioner declared "any projectile besides a rutabaga illegal". Hence the first official Rutabaga Curl was held in 1998.

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