Welcome to the official home of the Scappoose Community Club Sauerkraut Festival!
Rain or shine, the 25th Annual Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival will be held on Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Heritage Park in Scappoose, Oregon. Once again, we’re planning all day entertainment, lots of good things to eat, cabbage bowling and a sauerkraut eating contest.
The website, ilovepickles.org, claims the first sauerkraut was made in China about 2,000 years ago during the building of the Great Wall. The workers who built the wall subsisted on rice and a type of cabbage pickled in wine. When Genghis Khan invaded China, he brought back the recipe for pickled cabbage and eventually, he transported it to Europe.
The Germans took to the cabbage-pickling idea, omitted the wine, and created sauerkraut (which means “sour cabbage” in German), by fermenting the cabbage with salt. German immigrants brought their sauerkraut crocks to America.
Ray Steinfeld, Sr., who brought sauerkraut making to Scappoose, got started in the business after his parents starting making sauerkraut and selling it door to door in the St. John’s area of Portland. Eventually, business expanded to include local markets and restaurants and a cannery was built. In 1934, the Steinfeld’s bought a piece of acreage in Scappoose to grow cabbage for sauerkraut and cucumbers for pickles.
In 1942, Ray married June and the dedicated couple delivered truckloads of sauerkraut to Seattle, before taking their honeymoon! Ray and June moved out to Scappoose. Eventually, he and brother, Vic, put in about a dozen tanks and started making sauerkraut in Scappoose.
At that time, Hunt Foods was making pickles in Scappoose. The years passed and the Hunt Foods plant was empty from 1947 to 1951. Then, the Steinfeld brothers purchased the 15 acre site with a 44,000 square foot wooden building and the Scappoose Steinfeld’s Sauerkraut Plant began operations. When they bought the plant, it had 164 – 5,000 gallon tanks inside. They built a cannery, a little warehouse, and a label room. As technology changed and the business expanded, they added 14 – 10,000 gallon tanks and four warehouses with an additional 44,000 square feet.
In 1989, an energetic group of volunteers headed by Evelyn Hudson and Jim Carpenter, started the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival. Eventually, the Steinfeld family sold the plant and it was closed. The site where the sauerkraut plant once stood has been subdivided and homes have been constructed providing housing for new residents seeking a future in our community. But, the Scappoose Sauerkraut Festival, which is a unique celebration of our community’s heritage and its early economic development, continues to be held annually on the third Saturday of September.
That’s the story and we’re sticking to it.