Monday, August 15, 2011

Garlic Festival

Yesterday we drove out to Carp (a cute little town despite its strange name), for their 12th annual Garlic Festival (and our third consecutive visit). It’s a dusty fairground rimmed with small tents where local farmers sell many varieties of garlic, displayed in braids, rings, bunches and baskets.

Before my first visit to a garlic festival, I had no idea how many varieties of garlic there were, or how weak the garlic was that we’d been eating up till then. Organic, local garlic is infinitely tastier and juicier than the generic China-grown bulbs typically found at our Superstore.

But the Garlic Festival in Carp was more than just garlic bulbs. V couldn’t resist buying some garlic ice cream (which mostly tasted like vanilla but had just a faint, inoffensive aroma of garlic on top). There were garlic spreads, dressings, pottery garlic holders... as well as other local garden produce like corn, beans, zucchini and tomatoes.

We weren’t able to watch many of the events, but had we been there at the right time we could have seen a garlic string braid demonstration which would have been very cool to learn. There were also sessions on growing garlic, using scapes, and cooking with garlic.

And much to Miya’s delight, there was Crash the Clown who was making balloon animals for kids. He gave Miya a little ladybug that he said was to be worn as a bracelet – but the part that went around her wrist was super tight, so I used her hairclips to turn it into a ‘fascinator'.

I think Crash should have been sharing his profits with Miya for the rest of the festival, since by traipsing around the fairgrounds with a ladybug in her hair, she managed to prompt nearly every kid we passed to ask for their own balloon.

Last year we bought some bulbs to plant and V put them in the ground in the fall and harvested them a few days ago. Not a bumper crop, but still a pretty good showing of a few different varieties. With our own harvest and the 30-some bulbs V picked up yesterday, hopefully we have enough to see us through to next August.

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