Sunday, August 28, 2011

Farm Talk: The Garlic Story

Hello Farm Folk,

Farm Update: The Garlic Story

In 2005, we launched the Global Garlic Project with 100 bulbs. 10 bulbs each of 10 different varieties: Persian, Thai, Tibetan, Korean, Italian, Sicilian, Ukrainian, Russian, Yugoslavian, and Salt Spring Island. As 1 bulb has on average 6 cloves, we planted our 600 hundred cloves, and in the summer of 2006, we harvested 600 bulbs. We took the largest 250 of these bulbs, separated them into cloves, and planted 1500 in the fall of 2006. In the summer of 2007, we harvested 1500 bulbs. We set aside the largest 650 bulbs, and planted 4000 cloves in the fall of 2007. In the summer of 2008, we harvested 4000 bulbs. Of those 4000 bulbs, we took 2500 bulbs, or 15,000 cloves, and replanted them. In the summer of 2009, we harvested 15,000 bulbs. In 4 years, we had grown our crop from 100 bulbs to 15,000. We were finally able to begin distribution, which we did through bulks orders, farmers markets, and CSAs. Of those 15,000 bulbs, we took the largest 3500, or 21,000 cloves, and replanted them in the fall of 2009. This led to the 2010 harvest of 21,000 bulbs. Last fall, we planted the largest 4500 of these bulbs, or 27,000 cloves, which led to our harvest of 27,000 bulbs this summer! Over the years, we have added some additional varieties. A few years ago we added Israeli and Chinese, and this is the first year we are ready to distribute it. Last season, we added Romanian, Japanese, Siberian, Northern Quebec, and Argentinian. However, these are many years away from distribution. We hope to continue to secure garlic seed from various places around the world. What’s the difference between all the varieties? Some are hot and spicy, some are mild, some are sweet. Some varieties have many cloves per bulb (Sicilian can have up to 16), while others, like the Russian, can have 2 or 3 huge cloves. Colours and shape vary as well. We love the Global Garlic Project, because it promotes seed diversity, enriches the taste of our food, promotes health and wellness, and because it’s so fun to cook with so many different types of garlic! Our garlic can be accessed at our CSAs, the Leslieville and Sorauren Farmers Markets (available starting Sunday, Sept 4th), and by placing a bulk order. If you are interested in placing a bulk order, you can do so at For more info about the various varieties, and their unique qualities, please visit If you are interested in growing your own garlic this year, check out the following link for basic growing instructions: Looking forward to sharing in the garlic harvest with you!

Volunteer Opportunities:
Each week, we welcome volunteers to the farm from Sunday-Friday, 6:30am-3:30pm. If you are interested in helping on the farm, please rsvp to, and let her know what day you want to come, and if you need directions to the farm, or a lift (leaving at 6am from Davenport and Bathurst area). Hope to see you on the farm soon!

Recipe: Garlic Dipping Sauce:
A fun and simple way to experiment with the different flavours of each variety. When having a tasting session, make a generous amount of the basic sauce. Then the only differences in flavour are from the differences in the varieties of garlic. The proportions of yogurt and mayonnaise may be varied. For vegans, substitute mustard or soy-yogurt for yogurt.

For the basic sauce combine:

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Divide the base into as many dishes as you have garlic varieties you want to compare. To each dish add enough crushed garlic of one variety to get a good but not overpowering garlic taste and label the dish with the variety name. Dip raw or steamed veggies in the sauces.

That's it from the farm for this week. Until next time, Keep Livin' on the Veg!


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