Nestled in the Finger Lakes region just north of Geneva in Ontario County is the small village of Phelps. First settled in 1793, today Phelps is a charming little community that once was the largest producer of sauerkraut in the world. I can only imagine the olfactory experience Phelps must of been during that time.
There is lot’s of talk of Finger Lakes wine and grapes, but cabbage is the real heavyweight champion here.
Ontario County farmers are credited as one of the largest producers of cabbage worldwide. And where there is cabbage kraut is not far behind. Sauerkraut is the result of a cabbage preservation method of pickling. Shredded cabbage is packed in salt, where it ferments to create that wonderful distinctive tangy taste with a long storage life.
Sauerkraut is still commercially produced in Ontario County. Silver Floss and Krrrisp Kraut is produced by Great Lakes Kraut in Shortsville, NY only a few towns away from Phelps, and yes when production is in full swing the scent of Sauerkraut is definitely in the air.
While commercial sauerkraut production and associated scents have left Phelps, the town celebrates with an annual Sauerkraut Festival the first full weekend in August. Complete with plenty of sauerkraut to eat and activities for the family, like cabbage bowling, and cabbage head decorating, making this is a fun food festival to check out.
Read more about Phelps and the Sauerkraut Festival: