By Ryan Cornell
A free event this weekend will feature food tastings, cooking demonstrations and educational lectures.
The fifth annual Shenandoah Valley TasteFest will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester.
In previous years, the event was known as the Tomato and Garlic TasteFest and mainly focused on tastings of those two foods. This year the tomatoes -- from nearly a dozen varieties -- and garlic will return, as well as tastings of peppers, squash, pumpkins and other vegetables.
Local vendors will offer samples of their products, including chips from Route 11 Potato Chips, olive oil and wine from North Mountain Vineyard and creamed honey from the Holy Cross Abbey monastery.
Throughout the day, demonstrations will feature local chefs and business owners cooking with fresh produce. At 10:30 a.m., Ed Matthews, chef and owner of One Block West in Winchester, will show attendees how to make mozzarella. Ruth Fifield, an independent director with Pampered Chef, will prepare a creamy garlic spread and veggie pizza at 12:30 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., Sunflower Cottage Owner Billie Clifton will prepare foods with fresh herbs and offer tastings of her Middletown brewery's beer.
Lectures about edible flowers (11 a.m.), growing and cooking with herbs (1 p.m.) and vegetable gardening (2 p.m.) are also scheduled.
Julie Armel, deputy director of community relations for the museum, said they hope to raise awareness on where to buy locally grown food and educate people on how to grow their own.
"The valley has such a rich agricultural history, so it ties into our mission of celebrating Shenandoah Valley's past as well as its tradition of agriculture still so vibrant today," she said.
The Shenandoah Valley TasteFest will offer activities for kids, including an antique tractor display and free barrel pull ride, vegetable relay races at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and garlic hunts at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Because the vendors will be inside an event tent, the TasteFest will take place rain or shine.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is located at 901 Amherst St.. Winchester.
For more information, visit themsv.org or call 540-662-1472, extension 235.