Garlic Festival, Nieu-Bethesda

The annual Garlic Harvest Festival will be held on 8 November 2019 in and around an eccentric bar called Boetie’s Pub in the Karoo village of Nieu-Bethesda.

The genial and multi-talented Boetie Bester is the barman and also a garlic farmer of local repute.

Garlic does well in the Karoo. Planted in April, it fattens underground during the icy winters. Sometimes its thin green leaves (which are ignored by almost every herbivore) are covered in frost or poke above kapok and snow.

“The ancient Egyptians would feed it to their slaves, and it kept them healthy. We have the pyramids thanks to garlic,” he says.

This is the real deal, not that insipid irradiated stuff imported from overseas. Boetie’s crop, hanging from the rafters of a shed and piled in great heaps, is sold to buyers in Graaff-Reinet, Port Elizabeth and beyond.

The Garlic Harvest Festival starts from 2pm on the afternoon of 8 November at the bar in New Street, and carries on till until everyone is tired and thoroughly smelly.

Bring along a casserole-sized dish of something prepared with a liberal infusion of Boetie Bester’s garlic harvest. Everyone feeds everyone else.

Collect your free garlic from Boetie on 6 November at 5pm.

Past offerings include garlic bread, garlicky balsamic chicken, spinach, cheese and garlic, honey roasted garlic and chilli, lasagna, asparagus tartlet, prego steak, sausage, meat balls, garlicky chocolate cupcakes, vegan Karoo Sushi, garlic snails, and even the surprisingly addictive garlic-infused peanut brittle.

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