Tait Farm Foods prepares for weekend open house

Kim Tait has a lot to be happy about these days.

Her shrubs — tart, fruit-flavored drink mixers — were featured in a recently published book, Michael Dietsch’s “Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink For Modern Times.” On Tuesday, her company shipped out shrubs to be distributed through Whole Foods Market’s mid-Atlantic region for the first time.

And she’s celebrating her shrubs’ recent surge in demand with a weekend event.

Tait Farm Foods in Harris Township will hold its 18th annual holiday open house and shrub party Friday to Sunday.

“It’s exciting, because we’ve worked really long and hard for this, so it’s nice to have a moment where we’re acknowledged and have been receiving a lot of attention,” Tait said. “I think it’s great for a lot of people locally who have been fans for a long time, so it’s a great thing for everyone.”

The open house will take place 5-8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Dietsch will have a book signing 5-8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Tait Farm Harvest Shop. He has written professionally about spirits and cocktails for about five years.

“Shrubs pretty much almost disappeared for decades,” Dietsch said. “They were common and drunk until about the turn of 20th century, and they disappeared because of Prohibition and other factors. One culture that kept it alive was the Pennsylvania Dutch.”

A friend of Kim Tait’s late husband David suggested a shrub recipe to him in about 1986, and it gained commercial success.

“For probably 20 years, Tait Farm was the only place I’m aware of in the county that was making a commercial shrub, and that’s why they’re so heavily featured in the book,” Dietsch said. “They’re the link to this whole tradition, and I’m not convinced there would be a book if not for Tait Farms.”

Big Spring Spirits will offer shrub cocktails Friday. Gigi’s Restaurant and Wine Lounge will offer shrub cocktails 1-3 p.m. Saturday. And Mount Nittany Winery will offer shrub cocktail samplings 1-3 p.m. Sunday.

Tait Farm Foods will offer nonalcoholic shrub beverages and appetizers each day.

“It’s an annual event we like to have to usher in the holidays,” Tait said. “It’s a little more special this time because we’re finally getting a bunch of recognition. Shrubs are coming back to becoming very popular.”