| Sep 06, 2007

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Feature Article - September 6, 2007 The “stinking rose” wows Verona

by Inie Platenius

The Verona Lions Garlic Festival capped a summer of Verona events, and what a way to end the festival/jamboree season! Hundreds of people, many from out of town, came to the Lions grounds for a day of information, entertainment, chatting and shopping most of which centered around the “stinking rose”. All of the Frontenac Farmers’ Market Vendors were joined by more than a dozen others many of them serious garlic growers - from as far away as Almonte and Perth. A special treat was seeing Verona’s own Ron Whan selling his beautiful bulbs and braids.


This event hosted the Eastern Ontario Garlic Championships, and fittingly, Verona’s own Ken Willis whose vision it was bring a garlic festival to Verona took first place in two of the three judging categories. Garlic he grew at Sir John A. MacDonald’s home in Kingston, Bellevue House, where he is head gardener, won best variety and also best individual bulb. His braided entry won second place in the Best Display category.

The day was full of informative and entertaining workshops on all things garlic. Ted Mazcka’s savoury breakfast porridge a blend of oatmeal, banana, nuts, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and pickled (in vodka) garlic may not have changed many people’s breakfast menus, but his presentation won their hearts. (The author found her sample a great improvement on the usual insipid mush with sugar and milk that we call porridge.)

Two Organic Ladies from Almonte entertained the crowd with delightful patter and several yummy recipes. Their recitations particularly the spooneristic rendition of Rindercella and her two sisty uglers spiced up the presentation. Their delicious food needed no extra spice.

A highlight of the day was the “Mayor’s Challenge Cookoff” featuring Mayors Janet Gutowski and Gary Davison, with Sharbot Lake Lion Dave Hansen (known to many not as the mayor but as “The Gov” for his leadership roles in Lionism). Contestants were allowed to bring anyone they wanted as a backup, and Mayor Gutowski’s choice of well-known chef (formerly Fall River Grill) Dennis LaRoque was the subject of some good-natured banter. Mayor Gutowski won the challenge with squash ravioli with garlic scapes. Dave Hansen’s barbecued garlic pork tenderloin and Mayor Davison’s shrimp with garlic brought hearty kudos as well.

Food was everywhere. From breakfast through late afternoon, Lions and vendors served up all things garlicky including a sit down meal of several courses, which ended with garlic lemon ginger ice cream and garlic chocolate chip cookies. If attendance, goodwill and happy crowds are any indication, the first Verona Lions Garlic Fest won’t be the last.


This recipe comes from Frontenac Farmers Market vendor and fine cook Sharon Sole

Roasted Carrot/Garlic Dip

10 medium carrots

5 cloves garlic, peeled

2 tbsp olive oil

6-8 tbsp. water

2 tsp white wine vinegar

cup mayonnaise

cup sour cream or light creamed cheese

1/8 tsp. sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

tsp. pepper

3 tbsp. butter

Cut carrots in half widthwise; cut lengthwise into half inch pieces. Combine carrots, garlic and olive oil; toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 15” x 10” x 1” baking pan. Bake uncovered at 425 for 20 min. Stir and bake 15-20 minutes more ‘til carrots are tender. Next time I am going to bake them until the carrots begin to caramelize. Cool slightly. In blender or food processor combine all remaining ingredients with the veggies. Puree. Refrigerate until time to serve. Serve with crackers, toasted pita wedges or fresh vegetables.

Photo: above Ken Willis receivesthe first placeEastern Ontario Garlic Growers Award. (Paul Pospisil on his left and Kim Perry right) Photo by Louise Day

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