| Sep 04, 2008

Sept 4, 2008 - Verona Galic Festival

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Feature Article - September 4, 2008 Forest Farm wins garlic prize at Verona FestivalBy Jeff Green

One of the features of the Verona Lions’ Garlic Festival, which ran for the second time last Saturday, August 30, is the Eastern Ontario Garlic Awards.

This year, after a good early-day crowd had made their purchases at the garlic festival booths and at the Verona Farmers’ market, the business of choosing the award winning garlic took place.

The awards are about 14 years old, and have been moved around to the various garlic festivals over the years before landing at Verona last year.

According to Ken Willis, who organizes the Verona Festival, it is “really a question of whether the growers will come to the festival to enter the contest. So far, they have come to Verona.”

Entrants put their best bulbs forward in four categories: single bulb, grouping of 12 bulbs of the same variety, five bulbs of different varieties, and a 12-bulb garlic wreath.

Last year’s winner was Ken Willis, but in 2008 it was the turn of 2006 winner David Hahn, who runs Forest Farm on Canoe Lake Road with his partner Marion Watkins.

For Hahn, it was the French Rocambole variety which brought him the honours. His best bulb won the ribbon for best single bulb, and his wreath, made up of 12 Rocambole bulbs, won second prize, giving him the overall victory.

The contest judge must be accredited by the Ontario Horticultural Society in order for the society to register the results, and this year Ann Babcock from Harrowsmith did the honours.

Contest aside, the goal of the garlic festival is to promote eating and growing local garlic and promoting the local food movement, and on that level it was a success.

Attendance at the festival was up almost 50% this year, from 600 in ’07 to around 900 this year.

Sue Asselstine, one of the garlic growers at the festival, said she was impressed this year by the number of people from outside the Verona area who attended, and she was pleased with the interest and the sales at the festival.

Along with garlic for fresh eating and storage, the growers at the festivals also sell specialty varieties for planting by home garlic growers.

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