Town Square

Unhealthy garlic tainted air

Original post made by Carol on Jul 27, 2007

I like good food and I also like festivals, but the quality of the air coming from Gilroy's Garlic Festival this morning must be the worst advertisement for them. I went outside this morning at 8.30 and felt nauseated and unwell in the extreme. There is nothing that would make me go to the Festival and to know that the same will happen for the next couple of days does not help. I suppose we may also be getting motor oil smells from the Grand Prix in San Jose also.

Do these things in the air count as poor air quality?


Posted by Clean Air, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 27, 2007 at 9:37 am

Let's ban the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the San Jose Grand Prix--they are polluting Palo Alto air.

Posted by Nevada, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2007 at 9:42 am

How about we pave over those "nasty garlic fields" in Gilroy and build "monster" houses, just like we did all of the orchards from Palo Alto through San Jose. I grew up in Palo Alto and lived there for over 50 years before I couldn't take it any longer.

I now buy my garlic at farmer's markets here in Nevada.

Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2007 at 9:59 am

It is because of posts like the two above that I am very wary of posting with my own name. I do not like the air, it makes me feel sick. I was wondering if anyone else felt the same. I was not suggesting that anything should be banned or that garlic fields should be built on.

Please think before you post ridiculous comments anonymously.

Posted by Clean Air, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 27, 2007 at 10:12 am

So what is the purpose of your post then, Carol? And if others are sick from the air? do you then plan to complain to the authorities?
Maybe the smell is coming from a source much closer to home (hint, hint).

Posted by pan fry, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2007 at 10:23 am

LOL!!! Perhaps its the ghost of Julia Childs, residing in your basement. btw, if garlic makes you sick, you can't be protected from vampires--better watch out! bwahahaaaaaaa!!!

Posted by Nevada, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2007 at 10:52 am


You certainly can't be so naive as to expect 100% agreement when you post on the forum. Now that would be ridiculous.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2007 at 4:07 pm


With the normal wind patterns it is extremely unlikely you can smell anything coming from Gilroy unless you or your neighbor just came back from the garlic festival with tons of garlic. It's also unlikely you can smell anything from the SJ Grand Prix. Perhaps you are smelling collard greens from E. PA or maybe fumes from the tennis tournament.

Posted by garlic fan, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2007 at 6:57 pm

Carol, can I come to your house and take a whiff? I just got back from the GGF, and was disappointed at how little garlic was in evidence. It's become just another street fair, albeit staged in a pasture, with aisle after aisle of non-garlic-related products and entertainment. You couldn't even smell garlic, and there wasn't any garlic perfume either.

P.S. Bet you have a garlic-loving neighbor. Ask for the recipe!

Posted by Carol, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jul 28, 2007 at 11:55 am

I checked the weather data yesterday and the wind was indeed from the south until about 10.00 a.m. when it started coming from the Pacific. Yes, mid morning the smell did go away. I have since been told that the early morning smell happens frequently when the wind is in the right direction, but usually only lasts for the earlier morning hours. It has nothing to do with the garlic festival but is more to do with the garlic processing plants in the area.

I am sorry that some of you were amused at my condition, I can eat a little garlic, but strong garlic flavor makes me ill. Some people don't like certain flavors, but it is no reason to belittle them. I happen to love hot indian food (I am not Indian), but I know that others don't and I would never be rude to them about it.

Posted by Michael, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Just a reminder to people that under some weather conditions (breeze direction) our very own sewage plant in the baylands can be olfactorily detected in some parts of South P.A. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this were the source of the "garlic (?)" odour.

Posted by Curious Observer, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 28, 2007 at 9:46 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

I could smell the garlic on Friday morning. It's not something that happens a lot. I've always wondered what it was like closer to the source especially if I could smell it here in Mountain View.

Posted by Dave, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 29, 2007 at 10:56 am

Holy Cow, garlic fumes from Gilroy? All the comments that followed are OK. Come on! A concentrated smell wafting from there to here? LOL, What about the Christopher Ranch processing plant daily? This forum is fun to read, but I fear it has "Jumped the Shark". Fumes from there to here? I think it would be a lot more likely that it was flatulence from Aliens in flying saucers!

Posted by joe, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 29, 2007 at 12:17 pm


Do you have any idea how far away Gilroy is?

If you have a problem with smells that are common, you probably need some sort of allergy mask to use when this happens.

I sympathize, I get a headache from women who wear strong perfume, but unless you live out in the boonies (oh, wait, that's Gilroy...) this is unavoidable.

With all the construction around, I wound up getting sound deadening earphones. Such is modern life.

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2007 at 2:42 pm

I just came back from the "garlic" festival. Hardly any garlic to be seen, just cooked. The garlic festival is surrounding by new subdivisions and shopping centers. Didn't see a single garlic field. Garlic bread has more garlic smell than the "garlic" festival. Nope, this odor definitely didn't come from the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Posted by Carol, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 29, 2007 at 5:12 pm

I understand that people that do not practice good hygiene also may detect disturbing smells and then try to attribute that smell to something/someone else.

Posted by Clean up, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2007 at 8:13 am

After you have cleaned yourself thoroughly (your morning chores) you will begin to enjoy the smell of garlic.

If you are yourself unclean you will hate the smell of gralic.

The above is a VERY serious comment. Please try it.

Posted by Carol, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 30, 2007 at 10:19 am

How dare any of you state that my dislike of garlic is because I am unclean.

Garlic has a very strong odor. I find it nauseating. I can tell the difference between unsanitary smells and food smells. I can tell that a garlic being cooked smell may come from my neighbors, but I do not think that at 8.30 my neighbors are cooking garlic for a couple of hours. I am not alone in smelling it, I have mentioned to others and they could smell it also. I was not offended as such, just sick to my stomach. If you are offended by my reaction, then I apologise.

I have not been unpolite to anyone, please do not be unpolite to me.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2007 at 8:59 am

I also dislike strong garlic smells. Some of us don't like garlic - I can't sleep if I've eaten very much at dinner. There are lots of other spices I prefer, like cinnamon.

You do get strong whiffs of garlic sometimes in the morning driving by certain restaurants - they must start the cooking process early for sauces?!

The Baylands have had a bad smell when driving by on 101 lately in the morning, too.

Posted by Amy, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 3, 2007 at 8:40 am

The garlic smell has been going on for decades. I have always enjoyed it, but I can see how others might not.

Posted by B, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 19, 2011 at 4:01 am

I'm 3 years late on this but I just wanted to remark on the fact that the people replying to this thread seem like complete jerks. (I kept the language clean but would really have preferred to use another term.) Oh and ignorant as well. Just because THEY have never smelled it they chastise someone who has?? As if it were SO unfathomable that a smell could be carried through the air! *eye roll* And for those taking it so far as to question a person's hygiene OVER THE INTERNET?! What the hell is wrong with you idiots? And furthermore, if it makes her sick, so be it. You don't have a freaking clue what her story is, so why comment on personal issues? Absurdity.