Shenandoah National Park’s Annual Blackberry Festival Set To Return July 26
According to Heather Cash, the executive sous chef for Shenandoah National Park’s Skyland Resort, one of the best perks of her profession is being exempt from an age old rule of etiquette.
“It gives me the chance to do what every mother tells you not to do: Play with your food,” she explained, laughing.
Lately, the culinary enthusiast has been playing mainly with blackberries, as the park is gearing up for the fifth annual Blackberry Delight slated for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 26. As the festival features a blackberry-centric menu, Cash estimates that roughly 1,000 lbs. of the seeded fruit will be ordered in for the occasion.
To ensure the berries are fresh, Cash says the park purchases the batches from local farmers.
“It’s better economically for the areas around us and you get a better product,” she said, explaining that fresh blackberries have the sweetest flavor.
Visitors with less adventurous taste buds may want to stick to the dessert menu, which includes traditional dishes such as blackberry cobbler, ice cream and crème floats.
“You can’t ever go wrong with the desserts,” remarked Cash, adding that the blackberry cobbler is always a big hit.
However, those looking to try something a little more unusual should explore the meat options, all of which can be paired with a variety of blackberry-based relishes and sauces.
Cash insists that mixing the sweetness of a fruit with the savory flavor of meat makes for a delicious combination, and says the park has developed a new blackberry barbecue sauce for this year’s event.
Of course, there’s more to the Blackberry Delight than food. According to Helen Morton, director of sales and marketing, the festival also includes children’s crafts, face-painting, pony rides, and musical performances.
Among those slated to perform: country and Gospel singer Glen Shelton, as well as bluegrass groups Turkey Ridge String Band and High Ground Blue Grass Band.
For a historical touch, clogging — a type of folk dance with roots in the Appalachian region — will be demonstrated by the Calico Cloggers and the Shenandoah Valley Cloggers.
As a new feature for this year’s festival, Morton adds that roughly 10 antique cars will be brought up the mountain by the George Washington Model A Club.
“It’s a laid back fun time in the mountains,” Morton summarized. “It’s a lot of fun for everyone that comes.”
Event is appropriate for all ages. Though admission is free, a park entrance fee and additional charges for food and crafts apply.
For more information, visit goshenandoah.com.
½ cup butter
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups white sugar
2 cups milk
3 ½ cups blackberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Once oven temperature is reached melt butter in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl stir together the flour, sugar and milk; batter will be slightly lumpy. Pour mixture on top of melted butter in baking pan. Do not mix butter and mixture together.
Drop blackberries into batter; if more crust is desired add less blackberries. Bake in preheated oven for one hour or until golden brown. (Source: allrecipes.com)
Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or firstname.lastname@example.org