Garlic has been used for millennia for its healing properties, and has been validated by modern science. Research which has been done on garlics potential has uncovered that garlic can help reduce risk heart disease. Garlic has been intensively studied, and numerous large studies have shown that taking supplements that mimic fresh garlic can significantly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels without hurting beneficial HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that garlic appears to act by blocking the liver from making too much LDL (bad) cholesterol.
It’s no wonder then, that the people of the Niagara Region come together each year to help celebrate this amazing natural vegetable.
Under cloudless skies on a cool autumn day on September 14th, 2013 Niagara Essential Oil Blends in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Canada held it’s annual Garlic Festival.
Put on by Robert and Melissa Ashal, (owners of NEOB Lavender Boutique) the festival is a great place to experience some of the beauty and culture in Niagara-on-the-Lake, known the world over for it’s beautiful wineries, and historic sites.
Centrally located along Niagara-Stone-Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Garlic Festival offers free parking.
Admission to the festival is only $3.00 per person, and included a FREE Lavender plant! According to their website, if you return your mature flowers to them, they will distill the flowers into oil, and the proceeds of the oil sales will goto local charities. What an amazing way to help beautify your property, and help your community at the same time.
Approaching the registration table, a very pleasant woman greeted me, and stamped my hand with a purple stamp, and handed me my lavender plant. She also suggested I could pick it up before my departure from the festival.
Like many specialty festivals, local vendors came from around the region to show off some of the best Niagara has to offer. This included a special line of ice cream specifically created for today. Garlic Ice Cream! Not exactly the kind of thing to eat on a first date.
A friendly volunteer scooped some into a bowl for me. The ice cream lived up to its name and indeed, tasted like garlic. There was also a chilli heat iced cream you could use as a topping. Although it was an unusual combination, the garlic iced cream (which was served at no cost!) was certainly a unique flavour available nowhere else.
Like most festivals, there was a large vendor section area in which local vendors could show off many of their amazing and delightful wares. This included Nadine Fagegaltier with her company “Bois Jolie” which sells jams and jellies made from some of the hottest peppers known to man. Her peppers are grown and harvested in a neighbouring town called Stevensville. She had various samples available and encouraged passers-by to sample some of them. Several people tried the extremely hot peppers and asked for water or milk to help their mouth feeling that they had just consumed a hot coal from a fireplace.
Many of the vendors had products such as teas, handmade arts and crafts, and of course an entire assortment of garlic related items for sale. This included garlic themed sock monkies, jams, jellies, dips, and anything else you could imagine that could have been made out of garlic. There were also vendors who had non handmade products such as Tupperware, various tea paraphernalia like mugs, strainers, scoops, and everything else one could imagine. Of course, it would not be an outdoor festival without a large selection of hippie style clothes for women. Yoga pants, leg warmers, boho style skirts and tops, and various handmade sweaters were on display everywhere and made both locally and from sources around the world. Be sure not to eat before coming to a festival like this, as there are a significant amount of free samples.
Throughout the day, tours were offered of the Lavender growing operation. The tour included showing spectators a solid copper essential oil still (which we were repeatedly assured was not for distilling anything but lavender) as well as how the lavender is grown, types of lavender, what each type of lavender is used for and of course, tours of their greenhouses which held many more types of lavender plants for both culinary and medicinal use. The tour was very educational and although the festival was dedicated to garlic, it was possible to learn much about the use of lavender.
A centrally located stage had several presenters come on throughout the day and speak about their garlic growing operations, preparing garlic for use in everything from tea to pills. Some of the presenters gave cooking lessons on how to get the most out of cooking with garlic. One presenter even showed how to properly braid garlic for hanging around the house. There was a lot to learn, and everyone was very friendly.
The festival is a one-day event, held annually and had thousands of people in attendance. The free parking was an added bonus, and even had parking for RV’s and full sized busses.
The best part about the festival, is that I could be assured there were no vampires.
|DATE:||September 14, 2013|
|TIME:||10:00 – 17:00|
|VENUE NAME:||Niagara Essential Oils & Blends Stone Rd Farm|
|VENUE ADDRESS:||758 Niagara Stone Rd View Map|
For more information on the Niagara Garlic Festival visit http://www.niagaragarlicfestival.com