Last weekend, we finally checked out the annual Garlic Festival, organized by The Sharing Farm in Richmond. The volunteer group grows fruits and vegetables that are donated to the Richmond Food Bank and other charities.
The Garlic Festival is held on the farm at Terra Nova Park (near Westminster Hwy & No. 1 Rd.) but part of the road leading up to it is closed for the event. We parked at a nearby elementary school, then walked there. A shuttle is also provided from the city’s works yard on Lynas Lane.
While the festival celebrates the odoriferous plant with sales of “artisan” garlic, cooking demonstrations by local restaurant chefs, and tips on how to grow garlic, I found it be a great showcase for local farming and products.
There were booths for the city’s recycling program, locally made honey and lactose-free cheese, as well as kids’ art activities. These guys were giving away smoothie samples, made from a bike-powered blender!
Vancouver’s Earnest Ice Cream churned out garlic ice cream ($3) for the occasion. You could definitely taste the garlic right away. The first savoury punch was weird, and then mellowed out with each subsequent try. I really liked it, but couldn’t eat a whole scoop since it was quite rich.
Earnest Ice Cream also provided a salted caramel flavour, which was delicious and much less weird than the garlic choice. But you had to fight The Dictator for any more than one or two bites since he hogged the whole thing. I don’t know if I should be mad he wouldn’t share more, or happy that he has such good taste.
The Sharing Farm fired up its outdoor oven so that Steveston Pizza could cook up some simple garlic and fresh herb slices.
We didn’t plan to eat lunch at the festival, but were lured by some (new to us) food trucks like Fliptop which serves fantastic Filipino fare.
We couldn’t resist splitting a plate of Varinicey Pakoras (regular size $8.50). First of all, how can you not support a business called “Very Nice-ee.” Secondly, what a great idea. Pakoras are all vegetables, gluten-free and so yummy. Varinicey makes them with onions, ginger, carrots, kale, yams, and swiss chard, with a light batter of chickpea flour and spices, and deep-frying them just so.
Normally served with a mango chutney and raita (yogurt and cucumber dip), we got some puckery, slightly spicy, pickled garlic as a side as well, in honour of the garlic festival. Those were so good I would buy a jar if available.
The Garlic Festival is a fun and not at all stinky event for a lovely weekend outing. Watch for it next year.