Competition Brings Some New ‘Spice’ to Pocono Garlic Festival

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HAMILTON TOWNSHIP -- A popular festival in Monroe County is celebrating a milestone this weekend. The Pocono Garlic Festival is celebrating 20 years Saturday and Sunday.

Cleaning pounds and pounds of garlic, it's just one way farmers and vendors are preparing for the 20th annual Pocono Garlic Festival this Labor Day weekend at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.

"We have pound bags, we have loose garlic, we have bundles, and garlic seed kits so it's exciting. It's a chance for us to market a product that we've been growing all year long," said Josie Porter Farm owner Heidi Secord.

Secord does more than just prep her own garlic crop; she helps organize the event in the Poconos, one that continues to grow.

Garlic takes center stage at the weekend festival, but there will also be vendors, artists, a garlic-eating contest and an educational stands to learn about how to grow some of this yourself.

"It's not a difficult crop to grow. You have to have good soil to grow garlic, but you know it's good numbers," said Secord.

New to the Pocono Garlic Festival this year is a new chopped cooking competition that will feature local chefs including one from right here near East Stroudsburg.

Aimee Patel just opened her own restaurant in April, Mikuna Kitchen along Route 209. She says cooking here has helped her get ready for the weekend competition.

"Definitely, it's nerve-wracking opening a restaurant so maybe it's prepared me a little bit for the competition I don't know, but it's still nerve wracking," said Mikuna Kitchen owner Aimee Patel.

Patel hasn't revealed what she'll be cooking, but says she's using a special garlic mix to hopefully win the judges over.

"I'd have to say the only thing that is like our secret weapon is our spice called 'my spice' it's just garlic and cumin seeds ground up. And we named it 'my spice' because it's what we use in like every recipe," said Patel.

Pocono Garlic Festival runs both Saturday and Sunday at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area.

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