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Serving history at Philip Foster Farm

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JENNIFER GOLDMAN - Participants of all ages enjoy events at Philip Foster Farm. The Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society, the group that operates the farm, strives to make history come alive for visitors to the historic site.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what food was like during pioneer times, Philip Foster Farm has an event that will satisfy your curiosity.

On Saturday, June 18, the farm will host a cookout event that will give participants a taste of what life was like for Oregon’s earliest settlers.

“We’ll have foods that were eaten on the Oregon trail, or once settlers arrived in Oregon,” said Jennifer Goldman, program director for the farm.

Foods on the menu for the day include apple dumpling stew, bread, cheeses and doughnuts. The items will be cooked using a campfire and wood stove, just as they would have been prepared historically.

Volunteers dressed in period costume will guide visitors through activities on the farm.

There will be several cooking activities, including apple drying and butter churning.

“We hope to get people to see what the foods were really like,” Goldman said. “It should be a really fun day.”

Historic recipes also will be available, which Goldman believes visitors will find interesting because because they were not standardized. She also noted that cookbooks were on the rise during the 1850s, making them of special interest to the settlers.

“There were no temperature gauges, so the recipes say things like ‘a warm oven,’” she said. “They’re really interesting to decipher.”

In addition to foods, the afternoon will also feature wines from Buddha Kat Winery and live music from the Aspen Meadow Band.

Goldman hopes the event appeals to a variety of people.

“We want to offer something for everyone,” she said. “The farm is most fun when there’s something happening all over.”

Goldman believes participants will find connections between historical and modern day Oregon.

“What really stands out to me is how little cooking has changed,” she said. “It’s still food and eating. It’s amazing that you can take a recipe from 1860 and it still works.”

Since 1993, the Jacknife-Zion-Horseheaven Historical Society has offered tours and other educational opportunities for interested visitors at Philip Foster Farm.

Philip Foster, who was one of the first settlers to arrive in Oregon, established the farm in 1847. It became a popular stopping point for pioneers heading west on the Oregon trail.

The farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Goldman hopes the cookout engages participants with history.

“Our big goal is for people to see history as a living thing,” she said. “It’s more than just dates. It’s people’s lives.”

If you go

What: Pioneer cookout event with live music, wine tasting and family activities

Where: Philip Foster Farm, 29912 S.E. Eagle Creek Road

When: 11a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 18

Cost: $5 per person or $20 per family

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