February 2017 is Garlic Month and there are lots of activities to sink your teeth in to.
Kick off the festivities with a weekend garlic celebration at the South Melbourne Market on 11 and 12 February, where six different garlics from six different growers will be featured and people will have a chance to chat to the growers and taste their garlics, both raw and in special dishes produced by the market’s restaurants.
The following weekend – Saturday 18 February (9am–4pm) – is the Meeniyan Garlic Festival in Gippsland, Victoria. About 10 local garlic growers will bring their freshly harvested bulbs but the whole town is pitching in. Football club members will serve garlic calamari and fries, the Country Women's Association and Red Cross will serve garlic scones and cricketers will sell garlic beer in the festival market place. The Garlic Institute will feature a list of fascinating speakers; The Festival Kitchen hosts international chef Alejandro Saravia who will lead a panel of chefs from Melbourne’s top restaurants; and The Art of Garlic will illustrate how local artists interpret garlic. There will also be Garlic Games for young and old, and the festival stage with live music, comedy and bush poetry.
And the weekend after that is the Koonya Garlic Festival on the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania. It’s on Saturday 25 February from 10am – 3.30pm. The heart of their festival is the Garlic Competition for home gardener and commercial growers alike. There are a diverse range of garlic-themed stalls, food trucks, wine, beer and beverages as well as eco stands and others. There will also be talks from well-known garlic and garden people.
On 10 February, entries close for garlic in the Australian Food Awards. Garlic needs to be delivered by 24 February and judging is on Tuesday 28 February. Penny Woodward, Organic Gardener magazine’s Horticultural Editor is one of the judges, and says that some beautiful and delicious garlics are entered every year.
March into garlic
Not in February, but still well worth knowing about is the Garlic & Tomato Festival at Tasmanian Natural Garlic and Tomatoes in Selbourne, Tasmania, on Sunday 19 March from 10am – 3.30pm. The festival includes a rotten tomato fight and some wonderful tomatoes and garlic to see and buy.
Clearly, there are lots of ways that you can learn more about garlic, from the fascinating Groups and cultivars, to how to grow, harvest, cure, store and cook with it. Take some time to attend one of the events and you can also discover where it comes from and even how to turn it into art!
And for all the latest on growing and harvesting, plus recipes to delight your garlic-loving tastebuds, get your copy of Issue 92 ABC Organic Gardener magazine now!
By: Penny Woodward
First published: January 2017