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A Smoking Weekend At Wentz

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ox0r5wqjyos]

WORCESTER PA – The drive from Sanatoga to Worcester covered 16 miles and took just 33 minutes, but those who traveled Saturday (Jan. 24, 2009) to Montgomery County‘s historic Peter Wentz Farmstead were set back 232 years.

Ruth Konrad of Bally stokes a fire in the kitchen of the Peter Wentz Farmstead.

Ruth Konrad of Bally stokes a fire in the kitchen of the Peter Wentz Farmstead.

The farmstead, where Revolutionary War Gen. George Washington was a guest in October 1777, over the weekend showcased a paltry 60 square feet of its many acres on Route 73 east of Valley Forge Road. Its roughly 8-foot-by-8-foot stone smokehouse, used to preserve meats and cheeses during the 18th Century, was the center of visitors’ attention in a program called “Smoking Saturday.”

Wentz Farmstead educator Kim Boice mixes batter for griddlecakes.

Wentz Farmstead educator Kim Boice mixes batter for griddlecakes.

Smokemeister (master of the smoke) Rick Poole is a Bucks County resident who, with his wife, volunteers his time at the farmstead. To a day-long stream of young and old alike, he explained the intracacies of preserving food by first curing it with salt and spices, and then letting it hang for up to a week in smoke produced by wet hickory chips smouldering on an enclosed and carefully tended fire.

  • Watch a 2m:25s video, hosted at YouTube by The Post, in which Curator Morgan T. McMillan describes the farmstead and Poole discusses smoking techniques. Press the play button, above.
  • Click here to watch a separate 0m:56s video interview with Poole, also hosted at YouTube, in which he describes what attracted him to Peter Wentz Farmstead almost 15 years ago, and how he came to be its smokemeister.
  • See a gallery of 17 photos of Wentz Farmstead educator Kim Boice and Ruth Konrad of Bally PA, as they work to produce food for a colonialist dinner from the farmstead kitchen.

Peter Wentz Farmstead, part of Montgomery County’s Department of Parks and Heritage Services, is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays from 1-4 p.m. Its next special program will be held March 7 (2009; Saturday), and will feature Revolutionary War reenactors conducting winter drills. For more information, call 610-584-5104.

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