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The Times
  • Residents enjoy annual Garlic and Herb Festival

  • Mary Rose Madonia, of Rome, sampled a flavor of the balsamic vinegar at the 11th annual Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival on Saturday, and quickly encouraged someone else to try a taste.

    While garlic wasn’t part of the balsamic vinegar flavor she tried, she said the festival continues to draw her back year after year because of her love of the flavor.

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  • Mary Rose Madonia, of Rome, sampled a flavor of the balsamic vinegar at the 11th annual Mohawk Valley Garlic and Herb Festival on Saturday, and quickly encouraged someone else to try a taste.
    While garlic wasn’t part of the balsamic vinegar flavor she tried, she said the festival continues to draw her back year after year because of her love of the flavor.
    “I love garlic. I love the garlic festival,” she said.
    Madonia was accompanied by her daughter, Paula Mallard, of Holland Patent.
    “There’s so much to do here,” said Madonia. “I’ve come to expect the unexpected here.”
    Garlic came in many forms at the festival. Madonia listed different ways she tried it on Saturday, including garlic popcorn and garlic ice cream. There were also signs for garlic fudge.
    At the demostration tent, different varieties of garlic were served up. They distributed a recipe for skordalia, which includes garlic cloves, garlic olive oil, walnuts, red wine vinegar and stale white sandwich bread.
    Others could sample garlic without having it cooked into anything.
    Bob Pelzer, of Ransom Hill Garlic, offered cloves of garlic for visitors to try, including the Italian purple garlic. Despite its spicy taste, Pelzer said “it’s one of the milder ones.”
    Karen Bouchard, of Bouchard Farms in Little Falls, was among the dozens of vendors at the event. She said the booth was selling two varieties of hard necked garlic at the festival.
    “The community is fantastic here,” she said, about why Bouchard Farms came back for a fourth year.
    Bouchard said visitors are often curious to know more about the celebrated flavor. “They have tons of questions. They ask how to plant it, store it and the different kinds of garlic there are,” she said.
    Besides garlic, there was more to check out during the festival. Vendors sold a variety of vegetables, sunflowers and T-shirts. There was a Garlic Queen pageant, live music and a Moss Island tour.
    “It’s a nice day. It’s something to do,” said Tom Hart, of Mohawk, on why he attended, while sampling one of the dips that were on display. “I’m enjoying it.”
    The festival started as a small gathering of local farmers at the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts in 2001, and has grown into a fixture of the community, drawing thousands of people from across the Mohawk Valley and beyond. According to its website, the festival donates one third of the donation admissions to the Mohawk Valley Center for the Arts. The remainder of the donations are used to support the continuation of the festival.

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