DRUMS — This weekend’s 15th annual Hot and Stinky Garlic and Herb Festival at Zanolini’s Nursery & Country Shop offered up enough garlic-laced delicacies to satisfy even the most adventurous lovers of the powerful little bulb.
The event features a variety of vendors — including local garlic farmers, crafters and food trucks — as well as a hot pepper and garlic-eating contest.
Gale Sheridan and Gary Orton, owners of Grandpa’s Organic Garlic Farm in New York’s Catskill Mountains, said they plant roughly 12,000 bulbs of at least nine varieties of garlic each October, harvest them in July and dry the bulbs in August. On Saturday, they were offering samples of homemade garlic scape pesto.
Cheri Yannuzzi of Drums and Nelson Berger of Sugarloaf are old friends who hit garage sales together most Saturdays. They skipped the sales this weekend to attend the festival.
“I tasted the garlic fudge, and it was delicious,” said Yannuzzi. “There were chunks garlic in peanut butter fudge. The sweetness of the fudge and the tanginess of the garlic go really well together.”
Sporting a t-shirt that read “Powered by Garlic” and featured a garlic-bulb character lifting weights, Paula Willis, event organizer and owner of Zanolini’s, said she and her kids have fun coming up with the motto for the event each year.
“My favorite was ‘Eat, drink and stink,’” she said.
The idea for the event began when family friends, who are garlic farmers, wanted to find a way to market their harvest, said Willis, who owns the business with her husband John and mother Barbara Zanolini.
“Most people use garlic to season food, so we thought it would be a fun thing to do,” she said.
During the hot pepper contest, which was held Saturday, contestants had to eat one each of 12 varieties of hot peppers. During the garlic-eating contest, which will be held today at noon, contestants must each eat 20 cloves, and whoever eats the last five the fastest wins.
“We’ve done it for 15 years, and no one has ever died,” Willis joked.