Where does our food come from? Many modern supermarket shoppers don't give it a thought, but visitors to Old Sturbridge Village's "From Field to Table" weekend Oct. 19-20 will see firsthand how important locally-grown foods were in early New England - and how much work went into the harvest.
Details: www.osv.org; 800-SEE-1830.
Visitors can join OSV historians as they harvest apples, potatoes, carrots and beets, thresh and winnow grain, shell corn and beans, and churn butter. Guests can sample nearly-forgotten heirloom apple varieties, and the Village's cider mill will be in action pressing apple cider.
Teams of oxen will demonstrate plowing and preparing farm fields, and leading New England ox drivers will discuss the evolution of oxen and their importance to early farmers. On Sunday, Oct. 20, experts will be on hand to discuss raising backyard poultry and to demonstrate making a yoke for oxen.
OSV historians will give tours of the museum's new beekeeping exhibit, and visitors can learn about "harvesting honey" -- extracting honey from the honeycomb. In the OSV kitchens, interpreters will cook over the hearth with honey, cornmeal, maple, tomatoes, and quince, and will show how important pickling, smoking, and making jams, jellies, cheese, and butter were for preserving foods over the winter.
Old Sturbridge Village offers some of the best foliage views in New England, and is a favorite autumn destination, especially with photographers - amateurs and professionals alike. Among the most photographed scenes are of the Village's stagecoach rolling past brilliant sugar maples on the Common, and its 19th-century Vermont Covered Bridge, framed in brilliant foliage and reflected in the Millpond.
Although today we associate harvest time with fall colors and "leaf peeping," for early New England farm families it was a "make or break" season. With no refrigeration, preserving the newly-harvested food was an important element of the season to ensure that families had enough to eat throughout the winter and spring. During "From Field to Table" weekend, OSV visitors can tour the root cellar, learn about food preservation methods used in the 1800s, and how these techniques can be applied today.
Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. The museum is open daily 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. OSV offers free parking and a free return visit within 10 days. Admission: $24; seniors $22; children 3-17, $8; children 2 and under, free. For times and details of all OSV activities visit: www.osv.org or call 800-SEE-1830.