By Arlene Kroeker – Richmond Review
Published: July 28, 2011 3:00 PM
Updated: July 28, 2011 3:35 PM
Volunteers planted $2,000 worth of organic seed garlic (from Shushwap) last fall in Terra Nova.
Luckily, someone noticed that they planted it all upside down. Kimi Hendess redid them all (well, not quite all, as they discovered during harvest). That was only one of the challenges the Fruit Tree Sharing Farm encountered. A wet autumn meant soggy ground, so the team needed to find higher ground on the property to plant the garlic. (This is flat land.)
For those who aren’t familiar with Richmond Fruit Tree Sharing Farm, it’s a not-for-profit project that grows food for charitable food distribution organizations. The Sharing Farm began in 2001 with a group of volunteers who picked surplus food from people’s gardens to give to the food bank.
Today, 10 years later, they grow vegetables on donated land, including three acres in Terra Nova. They also grow pears and apples on an orchard at the foot of Gilbert Road.
They need funding, that’s why they planted the garlic. So a Garlic Festival is being held in Terra Nova on Sunday, Aug. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Two hardneck garlics—Musik and Hornby,—and one softneck—Organic Silverskin—are available.
How much garlic will be available?
When harvest began a few weeks ago, the volunteers pulled the garlic and hung it under a white tent to dry. After the first few rows were pulled, the tent was full. Mary Gazetas got on the phone and thanks to her friend Bugsy, the garlic now fills a hangar at the Delta airport.
Meanwhile, during the harvest, everyone pitched in, from the Richmond Farm School’s students, high school students, and families with children who happened to be in the park for a picnic. It took four days to harvest over 5,000 heads of garlic, more than 1,000 lbs.
The garlic sells for $3 a bulb or $15 per pound. You don’t have to wait for the festival to purchase the garlic. Pre-ordering is welcome (firstname.lastname@example.org or Arzeena Hamir at 778-297-2202).
Not only fresh garlic, but pickled garlic and garlic ice cream (by Casa Gelato) will be for sale. There will be music, silent auction, garlic bread baked in the cob oven, face painting – it’s a family day.
In case you didn’t know, the Sharing Farm holds a farmers’ market in Terra Nova on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. They sell veggies, flowers, loads of basil, and more. You can pick your own herbs and sweet peas and pay by the pound. If you don’t get to their market, check out Terra Nova’s Save-On-Foods for the farm’s fragrant sweet peas.
The Sharing Farm, reliant on donations, sponsorship, grants, etc., is trying to be more of a social enterprise, more self-reliant. So they will host the garlic festival and raise money to grow more food. Anything you can do to support them is appreciated, even buying sweet peas from Save-On.
The Sharing Farm grows food year round. There’s always a need, now more than ever. The Richmond Food Bank’s clientele has increased by more than 50 per cent.
The Sharing Farm also supplies food for the community kitchens—Gilmore Park, St. Alban’s, Bethel, Family Place, and Community Kitchens.
•The Garlic Festival is at 2631 Westminster Hwy. See www.richmond fruittree.com for more info.