edible notables


Reno Garlic Fest connects local farmers with community at inaugural event.


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Garlic’s scent can repel bloodsuckers and unwanted suitors, but at the inaugural Reno Garlic Fest, organizers hope the pungent bulb will instead unite people.

The idea for the festival started during a conversation between Kyle Chandler-Isacksen, executive director of the Be The Change Project, and his wife, Katy. The Reno couple wanted to help people connect with the community, the earth, and food production.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What grows here? What do a lot of people like that’s cross-cultural? What is an easy, entry-level food to grow?’” Chandler-Isacksen says. “We finally said, ‘Oh, garlic!’”

Garlic can be a gateway crop for new, small-scale, hyper-local farmers, he says, and engaging them is one of the goals for the festival. Organizers also hope to build community and strengthen neighborhood ties, showcase local foods, support local farmers, and provide education regarding sustainable, regional growing practices.

Tastes of home

At this free event set for July 29 in Reno’s Pat Baker Park, backyard growers and established regional farmers will sell locally grown garlic and produce. Attendees can indulge in garlic-laden foods cooked by local chefs, learn about garlic medicinals, and receive gardening advice. The festival will feature family-friendly activities, games, and live music.

“We want it to be an event that’s multicultural, family friendly, fun, and educational for our community,” says Laurie Martin, director of the Local Food Network, one of the event organizers.

As for the garlicky feast, Reno Garlic Fest is taking a page from California’s long-running Gilroy Garlic Festival and offering garlic ice cream created especially for the event by Icecycle Creamery.

“I’m going to roast up a bunch of garlic and pull out some of that flavor,” says Icecycle Creamery owner Jeremy DeMarzo.

Before dessert, attendees can taste some South Indian dishes from Thali.

“In India, we cook so much garlic, it’s crazy,” says Serj Johal, co-owner of Thali. “We’ll be bringing some dishes that have more garlic than usual.”

With food, entertainment, and education, event organizers hope to bring together a variety of people with a shared affinity for garlic.

“People are really passionate about garlic,” Chandler-Isacksen says. “It just seems to resonate with them.”

Annie Flanzraich is a Reno-based writer and editor who says, “Yes!” to extra garlic — no matter the consequences.


Reno Garlic Fest

Saturday, July 29

4 – 9:30 p.m.

Pat Baker Park (Montello Street at Fife Drive)

For details and a full list of vendors and participants, visit Renogarlicfest.com




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