Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Hosts 11th Annual Pestival Festival

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On Friday, April 15, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will host its 11th annual Pestival festival, a popular cocktail-style event that utilizes dishes crafted by local chefs using garlic mustard pulled from the Nature Center grounds and elsewhere. Pestival began in 2005 as a way to help eradicate the invasive garlic mustard plant through education, community participation and culinary creativity.

“Garlic mustard out-competes native plants by aggressively monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil and space,” explains Sarah Cech, the Nature Center's natural areas manager. “Diligent removal activities are crucial to the management of this invasive species.”

Once harvested, the garlic mustard is cleaned and prepared by staff and volunteers then delivered to area chefs. The irony of the situation is that the efforts have been so successful over the years that nearly all of the garlic mustard at the Nature Center has been eliminated. The plants are now harvested from other community green spaces, such as Forest Hill Park in Cleveland Heights.

This year’s participating restaurants include Blue Canyon, Pura Vida, Coquette Patisserie, Crop Kitchen, fire food and drink, Greenhouse Tavern, J. Pistone Market, Mackenzie Creamery, Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and SASA.

The event begins with a limited-availability Meet the Chefs Hour from 6 to 7 p.m. Open Tasting takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. New this year will be a post-Pestival party at Gigi’s on Fairmount.

Members-only pre-sale reservations for Meet the Chefs and Open Tasting admissions can be made now through March 25. Non-members may make reservations beginning March 26. Meet the Chefs reservations are $90; Open Tasting reservations are $65. 

Reservations can be made by calling (216) 321-5935 or visiting www.shakerlakes.org.

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