Barb Schoch, Author at Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival

January 9, 2020by Barb Schoch


The Kiwanis Club of Stratford

Stratford, ON


August 28, 2019

Contact Terry Marklevitz, Chair
Telephone (519) 272-7571


New products and events keep people coming back for more

Stratford, ON, August 28, 2019– The Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival which will be held September 7 & 8 in Stratford has new events and products, but has not strayed from its original mandate, says Bonnie Richardson, who has been  in charge of organizing the Garlic Festival since 2017:  to promote Ontario garlic whose large size, nutritional value and delicious flavour make it far superior to imported varieties.

New events this year for the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival include touring a working garlic farm. Participants get to board a bus outside the Stratford Rotary Complex to August’s Harvest, a garlic farm sitting on 100 acres of picturesque farmland just north of Stratford which has been growing garlic commercially for more than 30 years.  Learn from one of Ontario’s finest garlic growers about the planting, harvesting, packaging, and shipping of fresh garlic, and the processing of products such as:  dehydrated, minced and pureed garlic.

The Ontario Garlic and Artisan Market is one of mainstays of the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival, featuring Garlic growers from all over Ontario, with many returning for their 13th consecutive year.  Festival patrons return year after year to get the opportunity to meet with their favorite vendors and pick up their supply of garlic in its many manifestations – fresh garlic by the  bulb or in bags, braids, bundles and variety packs; garlic that has been dried or powdered and used to flavor spreads, jams, jellies, pickles, sauces and butter tarts.  The Festival has ‘everything garlic’, including garlic fudge from Stratford’s own Nudge…Nudge Fudge and garlic olive oil and garlic rubs from Olive Your Favorites.

In 2017 Festival organizers expanded their mandate to include artisanal cheese producers and wine/beer/spirits makers.   They will also be partnering with cheese makers to offer exclusive tasting & pairing presentations. In a fun, comfortable setting Alton Farms Estate Winery, the pioneering estate winery in Ontario’s emerging wine region, Huron Shores, is pairing with Great Lakes Goat Diary, a farmer-owned company producing artisan cheeses from their high-quality goat’s milk.    This session will feature creamy, firm-textured goat cheeses and lightly-filtered, flavourful – and prize winning – wines.


“Every year we try to add something new to display the flexibility of garlic. One of the most popular additions has been the opportunity to learn great cooking ideas from some of Southern Ontario’s renowned chefs,” notes Richardson. She invites attendees to come to the tasting & pairing presentation to experience locally grown fresh Ginger and off-dry English style cider from Huron County.  Loco Fields Organics and Maelstrom Winery partner to showcase how perfect fresh ginger complements and supports the maple and spice characteristics in their cider, as well as other organic vegetable and cider pairings.

Elite chefs, including Aaron Carley of The Bruce Hotel in Stratford, favor seasoning their haute cuisine with black garlic.  As this delicacy becomes more popular, home cooks are looking for education in preparing and using black garlic in their own kitchens.   The Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival will offer a session entitled:  How to make Black Garlic, led by Lorraine Irwin, co-owner of Boars Rock Farm.    Don’t miss her talk on the Presentation Stage on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

Not only is the Garlic Festival growing in popularity and attendance, so is the growing of garlic. It wasn’t always that way. Warren Ham, the garlic grower who co-founded the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival in 2007, said that “the need to raise awareness about the Ontario garlic industry was a key factor in founding the event.”   By 2018 garlic farming had experienced “a resurgence over the past decade in the province, particularly in Perth County,” and that the local comeback is closely related to the founding of the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival.


The Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival is a family-friendly event that gathers tremendous support from Stratford & area businesses and individuals. It is an initiative by the Kiwanis Club of Stratford to raise awareness of local agriculture and to raise funds for community projects. Past & continuing projects include support for the Romeo Public School playground, Kiwanis Festival of the Performing Arts, Kiwanis-CJCS Christmas Baskets, and the Aktion Club, a service club for adults with disabilities.   Tickets for admission and tasting sessions are available online at:


Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival 2022

September 10 and 11, 2022

Stratford Rotary Complex, 353 McCarthy Road

Admission $10/day or 2 for $10 after 2:30 p.m.

Children 12 & under free

Free parking


The Stratford Kiwanis Club cares about our community and has worked tirelessly to provide a timely, world-class event that showcases and supports local agriculture. This support has been integral in raising awareness and building markets for garlic growers across Ontario. As our premier event grows, the funds raised from this effort allow us to continue to support the children in our community and provide leadership and funding on many wonderful, community-enriching projects.