Heartfelt Music (Kiwanis Café Stage)
Bob Romaniuk (Brant County Garlic Co.)
2019 represents the 41st year that Bob and Irene Romaniuk have been in the business of growing fresh produce. They got into the business in 1978, supplying the Toronto Food Terminal with fresh produce and garlic. They also supplied the local Calbeck’s grocery chain, which at the time had nine stores, including two in Brantford and one each in Paris, Simcoe, Waterford and Port Dover. He also got into custom agricultural spraying and grew herbs. From 1991 to 2001 he grew echinacea, Golden Seal and black cohosh, and the Romaniuks saw to it that they became certified organic growers.
Bob stayed with custom agricultural spraying and started to concentrate on garlic. Between 1992 and 2008, the Romaniuks grew a modest eight to 10 acres of garlic for the family and friends. But as Bob says: “Then lightning struck and we decided to get into garlic on a larger scale.”
That started the specialized planting regime. They grow five varieties. The largest is called music, the most common variety. They also plant Yugoslavian red, which is about 20 per cent of this year’s 45-acres crop. The other three are French varieties all in the official French catalogue. They are sabagold, thermador and messidor.
The Romaniuks also have trial plots every year to see if there are better ways of growing each variety. They work with the Ontario Ministry of Food and the University of Guelph. It’s all to ensure they have the best quality product on the market.
He also mentors a lot of growers who want to get into garlic. Their website includes an article detailing 20 items growers should know if they want to get into growing garlic. “We believe in sharing information and helping others grow this crop,” said Bob.
Romaniuk said that between 1,800 acres and 2,000 acres of garlic are grown in Ontario every year, and the average grower plants two to three acres. That’s a far cry from the known demand in the province, he said. “Ontario could use 40,000 acres to supply just its domestic needs.”
Bob has been a director in the Garlic Growers Association of Ontario for the past nine years, and a director of the Brant County Federation of Agriculture.
We’re delighted to have Bob and Irene back yet again this year, and are thrilled that Bob has once again agreed to share his vast garlic growing knowledge with you in the Presentation Theatre. His talks on garlic growing are always fun, informative and always one of our most popular presentations. If you are wanting to get into garlic production for home use or on a larger scale, Bob is the man you want to know! Don’t miss him!
Eli Silverthorne (Knife Sharpening)
Chef Eli Silverthorne, as his Twitter handle says, is the #truffledchef.
A London, Ontario native and Red Seal Chef, Chef Eli has worked most recently at The Berlin (K-W) and Stratford’s Prune Restaurant. He was Class Valedictorian for his graduation from The Stratford Chefs’ School in May, 2015, and has staged for Maison Publique, Richmond Station, Scaramouche and Araxi in Whistler, BC., all top restaurants in the country. Chef Eli also completed his B.A. in history and political science at the University of Western Ontario in 2006 and has worked as an educational aid at Fanshawe College for six years. Currently, Chef Eli is an Instructor of Practical Cookery at The Stratford Chefs’ School. Chef Eli tells us that his favourite part of being a Chef is being able to utilize all five senses plus intuition and imagination at the same time. He is constantly visualizing, smelling, tasting, touching, and listening, whether it be to other chefs or sizzling burners…all the time! Few occupations demand so much of you at any given singular moment. He loves the challenges offered by food.
We are thrilled to have Chef Eli join us once again at this year’s Stratford Garlic Festival to share his love of all things colourful and culinary!
They quickly came up with a creative layout that would allow full accessibility to both the taproom and the large events area in the production area, while keeping the building as exposed and raw as possible. Because they did much of the demolition themselves, they were able to reclaim and re-purpose much of the lumber for doors and tables, even preserving a full section of wall which now hangs in the taproom.
With the rich history of construction in this building and in their lives, both Dave and Phil are loving constructing beers for each and every drinker, and they invite everyone to drop in and enjoy one of their craft beers and a wood-fired pizza at Jobsite Brewing Co. This year at The Garlic Festival, they’ll be sharing with you some of their secrets on brewing exciting new flavours in craft beers to enjoy with your Jobsite pizza.
Lorraine Kuepfer (Bee City & Pollinator Gardens)
“Living in an agricultural community, there is an incredible opportunity to bring attention to the importance of bio-diversity in farming. Bee City allows us to make meaningful change and feel as if our opinions matter. Lorraine feels that this is an incredible program that has been designed by Bee City Canada. It offers a simple program that all communities across this country can adopt in order that all of us can do something positive for all the pollinators that live in our own backyards. The Kiwanis Club of Stratford and Lorraine Kuepfer invite each of you to come to the Stratford Garlic Festival and hear how you, too, can turn your own yard into a pollinator garden and help save our bees through this movement that is sweeping the country.”
Barb Hacking (Butterflies)
Lorraine Irwin (Black Garlic)