Garlic growers garner great turnout
Crowds of the curious, the aficionados and the hungry showed up to the 10th annual Garlic Festival to take in the event offering everything from garlic cookies, to a wide variety of garlic bulbs and the priceless wisdom of the experienced growers behind it all.
The event is in its 10th year – the second at the Abbey Gardens location – and booths were packed with visitors from all over. Some of the growers were from outside of the area, as well. Members of the Haliburton County Garlic Growers’ Association had travelled to their farms to inspect their crops and ensure the quality and integrity of the garlic before inviting them to the festival. Local growers including Highland Garlic and Graham’s Farm Market set up alongside growers from Bexley and also vendors selling honey and Highland tartan or offering gardening and garlic growing information.
“Briton likes garlic,” said Susan Lloyd of her 12-year-old dog, who was checking out the festival from a carrier harness. Lloyd, from Kingston, cottages in Miner’s Bay and said she started growing garlic after attending the festival a few years ago when it was smaller.
“I came because it had expanded this year, and it’s terrific,” she said. “The number of cars in the parking lot show it’s of some interest.”
Local grower Ron Reid of Reid’s Sweet and Savoury said he enjoys growing garlic, even despite a rainy season that can make growing conditions tough. He’s a fan of Abbey Gardens, which he said is the perfect location for the popular festival.
“It can only grow from here,” he said.
New this year was a sweet to savoury culinary garlic tasting and cooking demonstration, a discussion of garlic pests and diseases involving many growers-turned-citizen scientists, and a garlic and beef cooking demonstration, with beef donated by the Haliburton County Farmers’ Association.
Sheila Robb, garlic growers association president, said the festival had grown since its launch, but that the plan was to keep it growing slowly to make sure a high standard of quality in terms of product was upheld.
She said most attendees – of which there were almost 2,000 last year – seem to come out of curiosity; they want to learn about garlic and be able to ask questions of growers while picking up their stock from the variety of vendors.
“It’s getting to be the thing to do,” she said.
For more information about local garlic, visit haliburtongarlic.ca.