Not far from where I live is an area of Yorkshire called “The Rhubarb Triangle”. This area situated between the towns of Wakefield, Morely and Rothwell is home to the farms that produce Yorkshire rhubarb. A native plant of Siberia, rhubarb has adapted well to the cold and rain of northern winters. It is grown in the darkness of forcing sheds and is romantically harvested by candlelight.
The town of Wakefield even hosts an annual rhubarb festival to celebrate its historic link with rhubarb growing. There, visitors can sample foodie delights such as rhubarb ale or rhubarb topped pork pies, watch cookery demonstrations by celebrity chefs and soak up the atmosphere while watching street entertainment.
Having never visited the festival I was intrigued to see a recent exhibition by celebrated documentary photographer Martin Parr entitled “The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories” at The Hepworth, Wakefield.
Parr’s images capture all aspects of the rhubarb business, from the back-breaking work of moving the rhubarb from the field to shed, the freezing cold and exhausting labour of picking the vegetable by candlelight, and the consumption of the rhubarb by food tourists at the aforementioned festival.
I went away with rhubarb in mind and inspired by the images of the striking fuschia pink stems I decided to create my own piece of Yorkshire rhubarb!
The Rhubarb Triangle & Other Stories can be seen at The Hepworth, Wakefield, West Yorkshire until Sunday 12th June 2016.