Welcome to another Love Local post you lovely readers, this month we will be spending time in the Isle of Wight. Are you planning a stay at our own Woodside Coastal Retreat or Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat? Then a must visit is the glorious Garlic Farm on the island! Now before we start I know you will all be worried about endless Dracula or Buffy jokes, I have completely reined myself in, this is all about how amazing The Garlic Farm is, so read on and learn more!
40 years of garlic
The Garlic Farm is a family run business, with Mum and Dad (Jenny and Colin) at the helm and their children all involved, including Natasha who has written two cook books on cooking with garlic and how to get the most of its amazing health benefits. The family have been growing garlic on the farm for the past 40 years, with Granny Norah starting them off with a few bulbs, they have since spent the years exploring the history and origins of this fascinating plant. Colin and Jenny have travelled to the mountains of Georgia and Kazakhstan to find the ‘mother of all garlics’. It is safe to say you will be amazed by how much they know – probably more than a 300 year old vampire! (maybe not completely reined myself in then…)
farm shop and restaurant
“If you like Garlic this is a great place to visit, they have free tasters of there products, and a lovely shop and restaurant and café there, and when they have there products there you can watch them harvest the garlic, they also have history lessons and stuff for kids to do!”
“Great place to visit and try loads of different ways to taste garlic. Staff were really friendly and helpful. Well worth a visit”
Over the 40 years history of The Garlic Farm they have been experimenting with the many different varieties of garlic, creating garlic infused products from chutney, to beer and even ice cream! To try these creative ideas you can visit the renowned farm shop to take some home or eat at the delicious Garlic Farm restaurant, both making for a unique and memorable visit. Learn about the history and the origins of the farm in the Heritage Centre, taste the amazing range of garlic inspired products at the Taste Experience, and pick up a few garlicy goodies from the farm shop to take home! The restaurant was built in 2009 using Marco Carpa pine, that was planted around the farm by Colin and his dad 20 years before, the natural wood and stunning log fire creates such a cosy, family atmosphere to enjoy your meal in. They also have a charming open patio at the rear to enjoy the stunning views across the valley, a great spot for nature watching – you can often see a red squirrel family running back and forth along with the chickens, peacocks, doves and even Eric the dog makes an appearance now and again too! Great setting for a lovely meal, serving everything from hot garlic buttered shell on prawns, garlic hot dogs and smoked chicken with avocado salad to cakes and desserts of gluten-free brownies, or try the black garlic sundae! Something to everyone’s tastes here, where possible they also source all their ingredients locally, even serving their own farm reared beef, the cattle can be seen enjoying the open pastures around the farm. Give it a try and you will be surprised by how much you love it here.
the garlic festival
“The farm is tucked away in a rural part of the Isle Of Wight. It has a brilliant education centre to keep the kids entertained and a brilliant taster centre where garlic lovers can sample some of the many products on offer in the extensive shop and restaurant.”
The Isle of Wight is famous for its many festivals, but one that draws over 25,000 people every year is The Garlic Festival, with music, entertainment, beer tents, crafts stalls and a full timetable of events in the arena tent. They also have a theatre kitchen featuring special guests, this year it’s Nadiya Hussain from GBBO! The festival started in 1983, with 5000 people in attendance, and is now one of the largest on the island. In the early 80’s a fundraising committee was formed for Newchurch Primary School, and over 20 years it has raised a substantial amount for the school and local community, providing sport centres, better school facilities and recreation areas. In 2007 local businessman David Holmes took over the festival and still works closely with The Garlic Farm to provide a unique weekend to visitors and island residents alike, with a curious mixture of a late 60’s pop festival ambiance, a country fair and some stunning garlic cuisine, which is all coupled with entertainment for all the family. Plan your stay around this fantastic festival for some knowledge, fun and garlicy treats!
the garlic farm field kitchen
“We love this place ! We spend a fortune in the shop the produce is amazing the team are precise and all are passionate about garlic. When ever on the island we aim right for it. The cafe is superb!”
“The place was nice and clean and had a very friendly staff. The food was wonderful and the best breakfast I have had in a long time. The prices were very fair and portions were large.”
Ever fancied something different at your wedding, party or even just while out at a festival? This mobile catering company has been serving up garlic inspired gourmet food at festivals, events and private parties all the around the UK. The Garlic Farm Field Kitchen uses locally sourced ingredients and fresh produce where possible, using original recipes and, of course, loads of garlic they feed and delight thousands every year. Next time you see this delightful mobile kitchen try their garlic burgers, or have a garlic-inspired breakfast, which includes fried egg, cherry tomatoes and garlic mushrooms on top of garlic bread , with a healthy dollop of sour cream (How good does that sound?!).
events and health benefits (if you’re not a vampire)
“A scenic walk is also available for the more energetic of you around the farm to see the Garlic growing for yourself.”
The Garlic Farm has loads of events throughout the year from parties to opera evenings, film screenings to art exhibitions, they even offer growing tips and advice if you fancy trying your hand at growing it yourself, as well as recipes and cooking tips. The health benefits of garlic are still being discovered, but there are many that are known such as the antiseptic properties, as its kills both bacteria and fungi, it is also a great antioxidant, as well as being good for you gums to stay healthy too. There have also been experiments carried out in laboratories that support the idea that garlic can interfere with tumour activity, with cancers of the stomach, colon and skin that are most likely to be affected. All these amazing properties from this tiny, little clove!
Why not pop along to The Garlic Farm and find out more, enjoy the scenery and the wildlife, and try some of the delicious food – and let’s be honest here, if you don’t everyone will think you’re vampire, so it’s worth it just to prove that point! (I’m sorry, I really did try!)