Garlic lovers united!
On the first day of Autumn in Toronto (September 22, 2013), the Rawstruckers headed out to the 3rd annual Garlic Festival at Evergreen Brickworks – 550 Bayview Avenue, Toronto. The event went on from 9am-5pm and the festival was a celebration of all things garlic… Admission: $5.
Part of the itinerary included:
- 20 Ontario garlic farmers selling local, heirloom garlic [and other local veggies, some certified organic]
- A farmer’s market with vendors selling jams, jellies, spices, sauces, chutneys…
- 10 craft breweries serving up local brewskies
- Tastiest Tomato Contest
- … and more!
Although the event was not a raw event, and there was a ton of meat being served, it was still a great opportunity for raw foodies to come out and buy local produce and wondrous types of garlic (not just the monotonous, white, irradiated stuff from the grocery store).
Parking at Evergreen Brickworks was a complete disaster. The event was jam-packed! The lesson in all of this is to arrive when the event first starts or to take the free shuttle bus from Broadview subway station.
My contempt for my parking experience faded quickly when Julia and I came up to the Stone Soup Farms booth. There we met Ross Breen, the very charismatic owner of Stone Soup Farms. As soon as we walked through the entrance, we were pleased to see his overflowing bushels of conventional, mennonite, and purple garlic (feature photo above). We had such a nice conversation with Ross that we went back to visit him again before we left. He joked around with us and gave us each a bulb of fresh garlic – to us veggie lovers it was such a kind gesture! We walked away satisfied, each with a bag of fantastically fresh garlic each and a smile on our face.
As we circulated around the open market, we came across so many unique and tasty goodies. Another booth that appealed to the raw foodies in us was the Pyramid Farm + Ferments table full of raw vegan delights including pestos and spreads, kombucha and ferments. They were selling Gut Shots (pictured above, right), a variety of blended concoctions made with cabbage, garlic, onion, and other wondrous immune builders. Pyramid Farm also had a wide selection of saurkrauts and two kinds of kimchi (mild + spicy). One thing I love about Pyramid Farm is that their slogan is “Go with your gut!”, because they really do offer such a tasty selection of gut-friendly foods that are sure to make your GI happy.
My final most memorable booth was the great people over at Two Buds. Walking up to it, you could tell that it had a woman’s touch because the bouquets of garlic were interlaced with beautiful fresh flowers. Dave Tuck, a garlic farmer of 40 years, was so knowledgeable about all the benefits of garlic and was so great to chat with. Turns out his farm is up in Elmvale, Ontario and is known for raising the bar on pickled garlic scapes, herbal vinegars, and the flavourful caramelized black garlic. The unique thing about the Two Buds booth was that in addition to the beautiful garlic and flower arrangements, they were the only ones selling natural garlic powder seasoning blends – zero additives, preservatives and salt. Just their own homegrown garlic and dehydrated herbs.
Indeed we must worship the farmers and all they do for our health.
As I was waiting for Juliana to arrive I noticed that Evergreen Brickworks had an Evergreen Garden Market. Naturally, I could not pass up an artisan market. I was impressed with Eden’s Pickled products. I loved the Hot Eggplant!!
As we entered the garlic festival next door, my gaze went immediately to the garlic shots that were being given. I am a huge believer in the power of garlic to boost the immune system, so I gave it a shot (literally). You can tell by my face that it had quite the kick! I learned quickly from the farmer at the Brant Country Garlic Company that dehydrated garlic and garlic sprouts are also very potent.
Some of the other highlights of our trip were the Eudora’s Fine Foods booth, where I purchased a delectible Khaldin creamy coconut and coriander curry. All of the curry’s and Chutney’s at this booth were organically amazing!
Another Farmer that caught my attention was theorganic heirloom vegetables booth. We noticed a funny looking vegetable there that kind of looked like an alien flying saucer. We learned from JP that there had not been an alien invasion and that this vegetable was in fact a zucchini. Juliana and I each bought one. I was happy to hear that JP and So Young would be in Toronto at the Montgomery’s Inn Farmer’s Market in Etobicoke every Wednesday from 3-7 p.m.
Last but not least was the CHOCOLATE!!! A farmer’s market would not be complete without raw vegan chocolate. From Chocosol Traders we were able to try chocolate chilli (spicy), hemp seed, and 100% dark chocolate bean flavours. Unfortunately Juliana and I missed the garlic chocolate samples at the various booths, as all were sold out by the time we arrived. Lesson learned; next time show up early to these events. Perhaps we can create our own garlic chocolate version with the garlic we purchased!!
Inspiration is Everywhere!
Check out the Toronto Garlic Festival website for more information.