Winchester, VA 8/20/13…Foodies, gardeners, and all those who love garlic and tomatoes will want to visit the Museum of the Shenandoah (MSV) for the free Tomato & Garlic TasteFest on this Saturday, August 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The day will include: cooking demonstrations; samplings of fresh tomatoes and garlic; lectures about cooking with essential oils, companion gardening with herbs and vegetables, and pairing teas with tomato-based foods; vendors selling garlic- and tomato-related foods and gifts, garden products, and kitchen gadgets; children’s games; a display of antique tractors; a contest to win an MSV Membership; and a drawing to win a painting by Winchester artist Pam Singer.
The MSV created the popular Tomato & Garlic TasteFest, now in its fourth year, to highlight the many varieties of tomatoes and garlic and encourage Shenandoah Valley residents to grow their own vegetables or purchase locally grown produce. The event will also spotlight the Valley’s rich tradition of agriculture with an antique-tractor display coordinated by the Massanutten Antique Tractor & Gasoline Engine Club. Three free lectures will explain how to cook with essential oils, use the gardening practice of companion planting, and pair teas with tomato-based foods. At 11 a.m. Ruth Egli, an expert on essential oils and owner of Hints for Health, will present “Edible Essential Oils: Nature's Healthy Alternative.” Attendees will learn about oils extracted from plant materials and the different ways these oils enhance flavor in cooking and provide possible health benefits. At 1 p.m. Kim Labash, owner of Loudoun Valley Herbs, will discuss companion planting and detail the varieties of herbs and vegetables—with an emphasis on garlic and tomatoes—that benefit one another when planted together. At 2 p.m. Judy Larkin, certified tea specialist and owner of the Larkin Tea Company, will discuss the uses of tea in the garden and pairing teas with tomato-based foods. Limited seating at the lectures will be first-come, first-served. TasteFest attendees will also have the opportunity to see professionals cook with tomatoes and garlic. At 10:30 a.m. Ed Matthews, chef-owner of Winchester’s One Block West restaurant, will demonstrate how to make fresh mozzarella. At 12:30 p.m. Ruth Fifield, an independent director with Pampered Chef, will prepare “Salsa in Seconds.” At 2:30 p.m. Blair Dolinar, co-owner of Nibblins Edibles and Gifts, will demonstrate how to make tomato-garlic pasta.
Throughout the day, TasteFest attendees may sample nearly two dozen varieties of garlic and thirteen varieties of fresh heirloom tomatoes. The Museum Reception Hall will become a garlic-and-tomato “tasting room” for this event, with samples provided by the D. Landreth Seed Company of Pennsylvania. Some examples of the types of garlic available for tasting include Korean Mountain (full-flavored with a hot initial burst), Romanian Red (originally from Romania, has a spicy flavor), Mild French Silverskin (used for braiding and cooking), and Kyjev (rich, garlicky flavor). Tomato tasting highlights include the heirloom varieties of Costoluto Genovese (great for fresh eating and preserving), Green Sausage (sweet flavor, good for sauces and salads), Great White (mild, sweet, and juicy), and Cherokee Purple (smoky and sweet flavor, dating to the late 1800s and believed to have been grown by American Indians).
The oldest seed house in America, the D. Landreth Seed Company also will have a booth in the vendor tent at the TasteFest where attendees may discuss tips and techniques for growing great tomatoes and garlic with company owner Barbara Melera. The MSV Tomato & Garlic TasteFest also will feature more than 20 specialized vendors selling everything from salsa to pottery garlic bowls. Products will include: locally-grown produce from Richard’s Fruit Market; items from the D. Landreth Seed Company; salsas and farm photography from Arc Angels Creations; pottery from Middletown Ceramics; fresh produce, biscuits, and more from Bonnie Blue; herbs from Loudoun Valley Herbs; kitchen products, pasta, and fudge from Nibblins Edibles and Gifts; tomato knives and cutlery from Rada Kitchen Cutlery; artisan cheese from Spring Gap Mountain Creamery and Hedgebrook Farm; specialty teas and accessories from the Larkin Tea Company; kitchen tools from the Pampered Chef; essential oils from Hints for Health; olive oil and wine from North Mountain Vineyard; flour, mixes, and more from Fresh Flours; melted cheese-tray wine bottles from Melted Memories; and all-natural dressings and sauces from Wildtree.
TasteFest also includes special activities for younger aficionados of tomatoes and garlic. A tomato relay race will take place at 11:30 a.m., and a garlic hunt will take place at 1:30 p.m. Families are encouraged to participate in the tomato relay; the garlic hunt is for preschoolers to children age 10. From 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., attendees may also throw tomatoes at a target in the Tomato Splat activity. In addition, a children’s arts and crafts area, open all day, will invite youth to create garlic- and tomato-related crafts to take home. Finally, all those attending the TasteFest may also participate in a free contest to guess the number of cherry tomatoes in a jar. The winner of this contest will receive a one-year family Membership to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley ($75 value). In addition and new to the TasteFest this year, attendees may participate in a drawing to win an impressionistic painting depicting a Virginia countryside by Winchester artist Pam Singer. Tickets for this drawing are available for $1 each, with proceeds to benefit the MSV. The winner of this contest will be announced at 4 p.m. on August 24; the winner need not be present to win.
TasteFest attendees may get a bite to eat at the MSV, too. Jordan Springs Market of Stephenson, Virginia, will be on site to sell their famous pork barbecue. In addition, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Museum Café will offer a special TasteFest menu. Admission to all TasteFest activities is free to all. For tours of the Museum galleries and its six-acre Glen Burnie Gardens, regular admission rates apply. Admission is $10 or $8 for seniors and students. Garden and gallery admission is free to MSV Members and children age 12 and under. Admission is not required to visit the Museum Store or the Museum Café. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located at 901 Amherst Street in Winchester, Virginia. The MSV complex—which includes the Museum, the Glen Burnie House, and six acres of gardens—is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Museum is open year-round; the gardens are open April through October. The house is now closed until 2014 for a preservation project. Details about additional MSV events are available online at www.theMSV.org or by calling the MSV at 540-662-1473, ext. 235.