So, all you need to do is take: 1 cow; 600 pounds potatoes; 325 pounds carrots; 38 stalks celery; 150 pounds onions; 100 gallons green beans; 40 gallons corn; 110 gallons tomatoes; 50 gallons tomato juice; 400 pounds cabbage and a dishpanful of salt and pepper, and you can have a passing imitation of Elm River Chowder! That recipe, which appears on grandma gerts recipes blog, may not be exactly how it was made this Labor Day but the one cow is correct.
"It reached 1400 pounds on the hoof while we were raising it out back" said Becky Rogers who, with her son James Rogers, was manning the south gate; her husband, Delbert Rogers was manning the north gate and another son, Lukas Rogers is President of the Chowder. James told us that Lukas got the job because he was out cleaning the chowder kettles when the vote was taken and he couldn't retract his name.
Be that as it may, the family traditions are evident throughout the Chowder Field, which are normally used for grazing cows; wearing sandals was not a good idea. Becky inherited the south gate job from her father, Albert Michaels, in 1999. She said that her grandfather had been attending the Chowder since 1865 and nobody seemed to know when it started. Apparently it used to be that everyone brought ingredients to the Chowder: squirrels, chickens, wheat and whatever was left in the garden; now, to participate, you make a monetary donation and take you metal pot to be filled; the donations are used for next year's chowder.
Normally held on the Saturday before Labor Day, it was changed this year because of Hurricane Isaac. It did not seem to matter; at about 12:30 pm Jim Taylor, climbed up on a table and announced that the Chowder was ready. He explained that two kettles of chowder had been prepared without salt for those on a sodium restricted diet. He then led the crowd in an invocation and so it began. Jim Taylor is quite a fiddle player but is better known as the husband of Rita Taylor, Rinard's Avon Lady.
With pots in hand, people lined up and volunteers took the pots to the kettles, had them filled by more volunteers armed with long handled dippers and slid them back under the barrier. The pots were then taken to various areas around the field where the families sat and enjoyed their day together.