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"Homestead Harvest" to show Historic Food Practices at Nathaniel Boone Site

On Saturday, the role of food in the 19th century Ozarks will be celebrated at the Nathaniel Boone State Historic Site. The event will feature demonstrations of historic methods of storing and preparing food. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark talked to the organizer of the event, and tells us what visitors can expect to see—and taste—Saturday.

[Sound: Dakota making pork/talking]

Dakota Russell grabs some scissors from a kitchen drawer to cut open a plastic bag of brown sugar. On the countertop before him is a large slab of raw pork. As the Interpretive Resource Specialist at the site, he frequently plans historic demonstrations like this for the public. Right now, he’s preparing a classic 19th  century dish called “Scrapple,” made with pork scrapings, cornmeal, flour and spices.

[Sound: talking about recipe]

Russell, along with other workers at the historic site, will be taking part in a “Homestead Harvest” on Saturday. He says it’s important for families in our area to understand how food—and how it was prepared—greatly impacted daily life for farmers in southwest Missouri.

“It’s an event that sort of discusses food in the lives of the Boone family and other Ozarkers. It forges the connection between the people of the past and the people of today and that is one constant: that life revolves around food.”

In the morning, the event will feature period cooking demonstrations and programs that highlight the unique food of the Ozarks.  In the afternoon, interpreters will show how farmers stored fruits and vegetables for the winter.

“Well, a lot of the things that make the Ozarks unique, and in turn, make the Ozarks’ cuisine unique, is that we have a lot of diversity in agriculture. In the 1800s there was a lot of corn and pork production, and so those were kind of the staples.”

The historic site features a vegetable garden, cornfield and orchard, which represents early farming in the Ozarks.  The site is located 1.5 miles north of Ash Grove on State Highway V. 

Saturday’s event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“I certainly hope that people can come out for the ‘Homestead Harvest’ event. If you can’t make it to the ‘Homestead Harvest’ event I encourage everybody to come out for our ‘Homestead Days’ festival, which is our biggest event, our large, annual festival that’s coming up next month on October 15th and 16th.”

For more information about the event, contact the historic site at 751-3266 or call the Missouri Department of Natural Resources toll free at 1-800-334-6946.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.