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History of Sauerkraut in Phelps

The Phelps Sauerkraut Festival began in 1967 with a one-day program (The Home of Silver Floss Sauerkraut). The Phelps Chamber of Commerce started the Sauerkraut Festival because Phelps was one of the largest producers of sauerkraut in the world. Eventually, a committee made up of members from the community and community organizations took over the various aspects of this festival with the support of theSilver Floss Sauerkraut Company (now Great Lakes Kraut Company – a part of Agrilink, Inc.) and Birds Eye Foods.

 

2013 saw the reformation of the sauerkraut committee into the Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend committee. This committee, again composed of community organizations, expanded the festival into a village-wide four day event which includes the Mustang Rally of the Finger Lakes at the Phelps Community Center, Arts in the Park in Methodist Memorial Park on Main Street, Public Market Place in the downtown, events at the American Legion and of course carnival rides and community booths at the carnival site on Ontario Street.

Sauerkraut Factories within the Village of Phelps

The Seneca Sauerkraut Factory, located at the West end of Main Street, was sold to Seneca Foods, Waterloo, NY and the building was demolished in December of 1994. The Silver Floss/Empire State Pickling Company, located on Eagle Street, Phelps, NY, was sold to Curtis-Burns Inc of Rochester on September 1, 1965. It was then sold to Comstock Foods. Canning ended in 1985, but cutting continued in Phelps and eventually went to Shortsville and Gorham.

 

Workers sorting the kraut.