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The Rhubarb Festival supports the work of CHUM, a social safety net organization here in Duluth.

Here's an ad for the 2015 festival:


I came into a very vigorous rhubarb plant when I bought my house... since then, I've been looking for options beyond strawberry rhubarb pie.  Minnesota cookbook author, Kim Ode, showed me the way:  Rhubarb Renaissance, is a cook book dedicated to the stalk.


Come midmorning, my sister and I

Would be shooed from the sandbox

To pick a dozen stalks of rhubarb

For that day’s pie.

There is a knack to picking rhubarb.

Grab too high and you snap the stalk.

Grab too low and you lose the leverage

For that crucial tug from the root,

Like pulling a boot from spring’s muddy gumbo.

Then we would take our lives in our hands

Lopping off leaves coursing with enough poison

To kill a congregation –

Or so we’d come to believe

Given the stern order never to taste them.

The work was both gratifying and disconcerting,

Entrusted to wield foliage so deadly

We could not feed it even to the hogs,

Bur heaved the leaves into the ditch

Onto a wilting mound that grew with every pie.

So, if I hesitate over that first bite,

It’s only a flicker of remembering how it felt

To bring those stalks into the house,

Hoping we had not been trusted too much.

–Kim Ode  (found on the MN Historical Society site)

Rhubarb leaves aren't safe to eat, but they are safe in compost.  The oxalic acid, which is toxic, breaks down quickly. 

(Esther Derby)