I sort of have a strange thing for the word "rhubarb" and would probably choose it as my favorite word, if I were pressed. I also happen to love rhubarb the plant, whether it's eaten raw with some sugar sprinkled in it or baked with strawberries in a golden flaky pie. When I play Ultimate Frisbee and need a word to use as a cue to my teammates to change to a different play or formation, my usual go-to word is "rhubarb." Yeah, so I'm kind of strange that way. In my defense, I own exactly zero rhubarb-related items.
My girlfriend Lindsay is well-aware of my affection for all things rhubarb and sent me a Wikipedia article about the Rhubarb Triangle, a small pocket of farmland in West Yorkshire that is rhubarb's equivalent of France's Champagne region or Tequila, Mexico — farmers in the nine-square mile area have the exclusive rights to sell Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, known for its tender, bittersweet shoots.
Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb farmers plant rhubarb in highly fertilized fields and leave them to grow in a field for two years. In their second year, in November after they've spent a night out in the frost, they are transplanted to heated sheds and spend the rest of their lives growing in complete darkness. The rhubarb stops growing and converts stored energy into glucose. Harvest takes place under candlelight so as to not disrupt that conversion before the plants are cut. It's the like the veal of rhubarb, just without the guilt of eating little tortured baby cow.
And with that, I bet you just learned more about rhubarb than you did in all of last year. Knowing is half the battle.
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