Bring on the stinking rose! Garlic season is in full bloom.

I have received three garlic bulbs so far in my CSA basket from Roots and Shoots Farm.

This past weekend I picked up 3 heads of Music garlic from Big Ass Garlic at the Arts and Crafts Show in Baysville, Ontario.

With the harvest well underway, garlic festivals are about to begin. Here is your 2011 garlic stockpiling calendar:

AUGUST 10 AND ONWARDS (Nepean):
The garlic at Silver Spring Farm will be going on sale Wednesday, August 10 at their location at 3501 Richmond Road (where Richmond meets Baseline Road on the edge of Bells Corners). Readers can call the Garlic Hotline at 613-569-8993 ext. 409 for updates to confirm the start date and also hours of operation. This is the 15th year for the annual ‘Choose Your Own Garlic’ fundraiser.

AUGUST 13 AND 14 WEEKEND (Perth and Carp):
The 14th annual Perth Lions Garlic Festival will be held August 13 and 14 at the Perth Fairgrounds, starting at 9:00 am. Pam Callacutt will be doing a cooking demonstration at Noon on the Sunday. Admission to the festival is $5.

Also this weekend is the 12th annual Carp Farmers’ Market Garlic Festival. It starts at 8 am on Saturday and 10 am on Sunday at the Carp Fairgrounds. Of the 100 vendors at their Farmers’ Market, 30 will be selling garlic and garlic related products. Free admission and free parking.

AUGUST 20 (Old Chelsea and Newmarket):
“Marché Old Chelsea Market celebrates its first annual Garlic Festival, Saturday August 20, 2011 from 9am – 2pm. Names like Zimo, Mennonite, Spanish Roja, Music, Korean Violet and Quebec give a taste of the variety of colours and flavours of the garlic offered at the festival.”

If you are interested in traveling further afield this summer, Newmarket’s Garlic Is Great Festival is on Saturday, August 20 from 8 am to 1 pm at the Newmarket Farmers’ Market. Free admission.

SEPTEMBER 10 AND 11 WEEKEND (Stratford):
I have heard really great things about the Stratford Garlic Festival. This year the 5th annual is being held September 10th and 11th at the Old Stratford Fairgrounds, 20 Glastonbury Drive.

SEPTEMBER 25 (Toronto):
Toronto has decided to get in on the action too. The 1st annual Toronto Garlic Festival will be held Sunday, September 25 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Evergreen Brick Works just north of Broadview Subway station at 550 Bayview Avenue. There will be over 50 varieties of garlic available for cooking and planting. Admission is $5.

GARLIC CARE:
Garlic can keep for up to 10 months if stored in a cool, dry, dark location. Do not refrigerate garlic.

INTERESTING GARLIC FACT:
Garlic is planted in the fall and then harvested in August (sometimes as early as mid-July) of the following year.

WHAT I DO IN THE OFF SEASON:
When I have run out of garlic from Ontario, I try for garlic from the USA. I personally try to avoid buying garlic from as far away as China. I have had luck finding USA garlic in the winter at my local Produce Depot.

CANCEL YOUR TRIP TO GILROY:
So, go ahead and cancel that trip to Gilroy, California, the Garlic Capital of the World. They say they host the largest garlic festival around. Unfortunately, you’ve already missed it. (Their festival was July 27 – 29th.) Thankfully, it appears you can do all your garlic shopping right here at home in Ontario.

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