Every year since at least 1970, on the Wednesday before Easter, locals have gotten together to peel, chop, grate and prepare horseradish.

What started out as a gathering of a half dozen guys in Art Penny’s backyard 40+ years ago has bloomed into a springtime ritual that today draws 400 people.

Everyone brings an empty jar to fill with the delectable mixture. And there’s plenty of horseradish-friendly food to go around, too, such as clams and oysters on the half shell,  and grilled kielbasa —  and, of course, many varieties of Bloody Marys.

But making prepared horseradish from the root vegetable is not for the feint of heart. When peeled, chopped or shredded, horseradish emits fumes that put the onion to shame. There are many weeping eyes at Riverhead’s annual Horseradish Party.

This year’s event was held at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead.  Click here to watch the video on YouTube.

“Old timers” who’ve been there from the first days in Penny’s backyard, as well as other seasoned Horseradish Party veterans, mixed with (often unsuspecting) newcomers to make this annual Easter-time ritual gathering another resounding success.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Peter Blasl.


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