Garlic may drive away the vampires, but it brings in the food lovers.
The sixth annual GarlicFest, hosted by Loganberry Heritage Farm on Adair Mill Road in Cleveland, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23. The yearly free festival celebrates the wonders of the internationally beloved spice and its responsible cultivation, as well as family togetherness.
Sharon Turner Mauney, the sixth generation steward of Loganberry Heritage Farm, spends her whole year planning the family friendly event at 2660 Adair Mill Road in Cleveland. The property accommodates activities such as hayrides, a petting zoo, live music, chefs demos and storytelling, in addition to samplings of the garlic that is one of the farm’s most popular products.
This year’s festival will allow patrons to sample 28 different types of international garlic at the tented “Garlic University.” Their names may sound like a roster of exotic cars — Persian star, Georgian crystal, Hungarian purple, Russian red — but they are 100 percent homegrown on Loganberry Heritage Farm and 100 percent edible.
In addition to the garlic samplings and other garlic-based dishes such as garlic jelly, Mauney has also planned out a menu of food for patrons to enjoy while listening to live entertainment.
“We have broken it down into vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free,” Mauney said. “Everything is off the farm.”
Roasted garlic, vegetable soup, blueberry and blackberry cobblers and pasta with marinara sauce are among the menu items. For the carnivores, meatballs made from the free-range livestock of Loganberry Heritage will be available with the pasta.
Live entertainment at GarlicFest includes singers and storytellers. Debbie From, a professional storyteller, will be on hand to share a folktale while she demonstrates a recipe centered around — you guessed it — garlic.
“I’m trying to do something unusual, a little different,” From said of the topic for her cooking demonstration. “We’ve tested out garlic caramel corn and garlic chocolate, so it will be something more on the sweet side.”
For From and her family, the greatest draw of GarlicFest may not be listed in the festival’s advertisement.
“We have a special bond with (Loganberry Heritage Farm), and it’s a beautiful place to be, whatever is happening,” From said. “We just enjoy being able to spend time there.”
Professional chef demos are also planned courtesy of Paul Anthony, the executive chef at Southern Recess Gastro-Pub on the Gainesville Square; Lisa Simpson, a Parisian-born Georgia resident who cooks under the title of the French Dahlonegan; and Kim Viscardi of Decatur.
Anthony will be doing a chef’s demo as well as bringing food he prepared in advance. Traditional pesto, roasted garlic pesto, roasted garlic ice cream and roasted garlic and sundried tomato focaccia bread prepared by Anthony will all be available for festivalgoers to sample. He will cook with ingredients grown on the farm, which he insists are more high-quality than their unsustainable counterparts.
“The garlic from (Loganberry Heritage Farm) is 10 times better than the garlic you can get from the grocery store,” Anthony said.
The family friendly event saw between 2,500 to 3,000 patrons last year, and Mauney expects the same numbers this year.
“There’s something for everybody, young and old alike,” Mauney said. “Garlic is king for the day.”