A taste of Sweden in Sanford

Singers at the annual St. Lucia Festival in Sanford, Fla.

Singers at the annual St. Lucia Festival in Sanford, Fla.

Folks who go to the annual St. Lucia Festival in Sanford have a chance to sample some Florida-pioneer culinary treats. (In 2013, it’s December 14; see sanfordstlucia.com.)

I’m not talking grits and gator nuggets – not this time.

Think Swedish coffee, pickled herring, and lingonberries. And glögg (a beverage), cabbage rolls, meatballs, brown beans, maybe something called Jansson’s temptation, a variety of cakes and cookies, and Swedish pickles.

A Swedish coffeepot. Thanks to Patty Sundberg, "From the Deep Quiet."

A Swedish coffeepot. Thanks to Patty Sundberg, “From the Deep Quiet.”

Festival coordinator Teri Patterson once told me she is especially fond of the pickles. “You just can’t beat a breakfast buffet that includes Swedish pickles, Swedish coffee and a few Swedish cookies,” she said.

But Patterson’s heritage as the descendant of Swedish immigrants means a lot more to her than good eating. With fellow historians Charlie Carlson and Christine Kinlaw-Best, she has written several publications for the Sanford Historical Society on the area’s Swedish heritage, including “The Swedish History of Seminole County.”

“As far back as I can recall I always enjoyed listening to my family’s stories,” Patterson wrote.

“Many were collected and told so beautifully by my grand-aunt Olga Vihlen Hunter. “In each family there seems to be a person who gathers the facts about their ancestors. These facts remind us of their hardships and successes that have contributed to who we are today.”

New Upsala Presbyterian Church, 1902 (Sanford Museum)

New Upsala Presbyterian Church, 1902 (Sanford Museum)

Patterson’s great-grandfather came from Sweden to America and “settled among Swedes in the community of New Upsala,” now in Sanford.

“Over the years this Swedish community has mostly disappeared, . . . but a few remaining historical places remind us of their pioneering past,” she writes.

“These New Upsala Swedes played a major role in developing Central Florida’s great citrus industry.”

Advertisements