Greenfield Village embraces fall
From spicy pumpkin butter to pressed apple cider to stuffed acorn squash, the aromas and flavors of autumn will permeate the air at Greenfield Village this weekend and next.
The bounty of the season takes center stage with traditional fall cooking activities at several historic houses; a farmers market with fresh produce from regional growers; tours of the apple orchard, apple cider pressing, harvesting and plowing demonstrations at the Firestone Farm; and cooking demonstrations by Michael Trombley, executive chef of The Henry Ford.
“It’s really a celebration of fall, a celebration of the food and the harvest season,” says Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager at The Henry Ford. “I look at it as much more than just cooking demonstrations in the homes. You not only smell the delightful food cooking, but in some cases you can take home the recipe.”
The menus reflect some 200 years of American food history, ranging from Colonial times (think the Daggett Farmhouse from pre-American Revolution Connecticut) to the 1930s (the Mattox Family Home from Georgia). The staff has culled and adapted recipes from cookbooks of different time periods, including the “Buckeye Cookbook” and the “Boston Cooking-School Cookbook,” both from the late 19th century, and “The Story of Crisco,” published in 1914.
What’s more, menus will vary each weekend. At the Edison Homestead, for example, this weekend’s menu includes leek and potato soup, baked macaroni and cheese and chocolate cookies. Next weekend, the women of the household, using a coal stove, will prepare shepherd’s pie, German cabbage and a Dutch apple cake. The focus is on early 20th-century cooking amid cultural and technological changes.
Unfortunately, guests will not be able to sample the creations at each home, but some fare, such as theapple cakebaked at one of the homes, will be available at the Village’s a Taste of History Restaurant.
The Firestone Farm (the two-story brick farmhouse was the Ohio birthplace of tire manufacturer Harvey Firestone) will be a busy place. Inside, using a coal stove to cook and bake, the female staff will prepare a 19th-century meal with Midwestern recipes and a Pennsylvania German influence. Outside, the fields will be harvested one weekend and plowed the next. There will also be apple orchard tours, with staff noting apple varieties and sharing samples. Cider pressing (with heirloom apples from the orchard) will take place both Saturdays.
“Everybody loves food, and this is one of our most popular events,” Foster says of the orchard tour and cider pressing.
Across the Village at the Daggett Farmhouse, a two-story timber flank home built in 1740, the staff will not only be cooking a meal (onion pie, sausages, potato cake, dressed vegetables) on an open hearth but also will ferment white mead. The following weekend visitors can watch the step-by-step process of brewing beer in the 18th century. The Daggett site — near the Farris Windmill — is also a working farm with a raised garden bed.
“It’s funny that all of the stuff at the Daggett Farmhouse is the latest rage ... raised garden bed, craft brewing, do it yourself ... it takes everything forward mentally,” Foster says.
Both weekends, samples from local growers and food producers will be available at the Greenfield Village Store. Guests can taste Greenfield Village fudge and preserves, as well as fare from the Dearborn Sausage Co. and Kalamazoo Popcorn. The farmers market will be held 10 a.m-3 p.m. both Saturdays at the Village Pavilion, with local growers selling fruit, vegetables, grains, honey, meats and breads.
Note: On Oct. 4, a food drive to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank will be held outside the Village entrance. Donate five nonperishable items and receive a coupon for free admission to the Village.
Fall Flavor Weekends
Sat.-Sun. and Oct. 4-5
20900 Oakwood, Dearborn
Free with Village admission; $24 adults; $17.50, ages 5-12