Historical Fort de Chartres Gardens

Fort de Chartres was established by the France.
North entry to the Fort.

I've been going to the annual Rendezvous at Ft. de Chartres for many years. This, their 42nd, had the best weather of any time I've attended. I go because I'm interested in historic foods, costumes and gardens. If you would like to read a previous post about the historic garden at the Fort, here's the link.
Carol Kuntz, garden volunteer.
Carol Kuntz manages the garden and teaches other volunteers, too. The garden is historically correct, including the raised beds. No plants are grown in the garden unless they can be documented as having been grown while the Fort was occupied in the 1700s. There is also a Native people's garden on the grounds that contains various beans, corn and squash.
Peas, lettuce, French sorrel, onions, egg plant, grapes and lots of herbs.

One of the surprising facts about the Fort is that there were more blacks and Indians living around the Fort than there were Europeans. The French didn't discriminate between races. There were both indentured servants and freed men and women living outside the Fort. European whites could freely marry free blacks or Indians, provided all the parties had been baptized by the Catholic church - otherwise, marriage was prohibited!

Descendants of French, Indian, black, British and other groups, still live just a few miles of the Fort in towns such as Prairie de Rocher, Red Bud and others. From their family records, cookbooks, correspondence and records from the Fort, provide the documentation for herbs and vegetables that were grown and used during the French occupation.
Both culinary and medicinal herbs were grown.

Volunteers help with the garden and learn what was grown - like this asparagus.
British reenactors playing for military drill.
People put a lot of time and money into their costumes.

Washer woman demonstrating how laundry was done in the 1700s.
Perry Riley with some amazing gourd art.
Perry Riley, a renowned artist and gourd person, was back for the second year. His artwork is awesome, combining historical themes and his own artistic interpretations. You can learn more about Perry and his events and work, here.
Note the size of those gourds on the left of the photo!
I always look forward to the fried buffalo (fish) with potatoes and cole slaw.
The food at the fort has to be traditionally connected. Since buffalo fish is one of my favorites and comes from the Mississippi River (the Fort sits on the side of the River nearby). French onion soup and ham and beans are also among the options.
All in all, it's a pretty amazing event. I go to photograph, visit with people, learn more about the historical gardening and see the costumes.

1 comment:

Leah said...

Your photos are the next best thing to being there. Can't wait to show Rudy. I'm putting this on a to see list.