On the second day of Ohio Brew Week, June 23rd, the Dairy Barn Cultural Arts Center will be hosting a Spicebush Festival organized by Chris Chmiel of Integration Acres. Chris is known around the country for his work with native edible plants.
Spicebush is a naturally growing plant in the Eastern United States. It is the sole source of food of the Spicebush swallow tail butterfly. It used to be called Appalachian Allspice. Its bark, stems, berries and leaves all have wonderful culinary properties. One of those culinary favorites is to grind the berries up and use them to rub salmon and trout while grilling the meat.
The Spicebush Festival held from noon until 10 p.m., Sat., June 23 will feature local musicians, food vendors and interactive children activities and educational talks about ways to use spicebush. A spicebush cook-off starts at 4 p.m.
Three types of spicebush beer will be featured at the Festival. Brad Clark, master brewer of Jackie O's Pub and Brewery will use spicebush leaves for one and spicebush stems for the other. Garin Wright, master brewer of Buckeye Brewing Co., will be making a spicebush beer using the berries. Kelly Sauber, of Dancing Tree Distillery, is also creating a special gin using spicebush ingredients.
Chris has spent many years using the pawpaw fruit, another naturally growing plant in this region and beers made with pawpaws will be featured in several places during Ohio Brew Week.
The Dairy Barn will also be planting spicebush to utilize in its landscaping design. The $5 admission fee for The Spicebush Festival benefits the Dairy Barn.