Minnesota Garlic Festival raises a stink for local farmers

More than just a summer festival celebrating our favorite bulb, the Minnesota Garlic Festival is also a fundraiser to benefit rural Minnesota farmers for all the work they do to feed us so well. Filled with music, local foods, arts, general merriment, and 100 kinds of garlic (!) the festival also showcases the talents of some of our finest local chefs.

The Hot Dish spoke with Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots Cafe in Uptown, to find out more about Saturday's event.

All festival profits support the Sustainable Farming Association (SFA), which states as its mission: "[to support] the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through innovation, demonstration, education, and farmer-to-farmer networking."

This is Common Roots' third year volunteering at the festival, and Schwartzman is enthusiastic to join in again. "This is a great opportunity to serve good food to hundreds of people in a festival setting," he says. Participating in the Great 'Scape Cafe with several other notable restaurants and chefs from Sen Yai Sen Lek, the Modern, Brasa, Lucia's, Birchwood, and more, Schwartzman is thrilled to have this opportunity to honor farmers. Last year's success was encouraging--the event raised roughly $7,000 for SFA. "The tickets and all proceeds go to them," says Schwartzman.

No festival is complete without all kinds of food, and this one brings the goods: Common Roots has grilled garlic, garlic hummus and pita, and macaroni and cheese with garlic. "There will be lots of garlic, but we will make sure it's not too overpowering." Lucia's has chicken wings; the Modern, burritos and tacos; Birchwood offers Surly beer braised pulled pork; Brasa has a beef dish; and Sen Yai Sen Lek brings tofu sandwiches, and garlic curry to the party.

Schwartzman also mentioned the family-friendly factor of the event and how wonderful it is for adults and kids to celebrate together. "There is a great cross section with kids making kites, everyone listening to live music, and enjoying great food."

Fifth Annual Minnesota Garlic Festival
When: Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: McLeod County Fairgrounds, 840 Century Ave. SW, Hutchinson, Minnesota
Tickets: $5 for adults, $3 for children 12 and under, free for stroller/carried babies, with all proceeds going to SFA
You can catch the Garlic Express from the Mill City Market to and from the festival.

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