Get your garlic!

One of the things that I love about my work is that deep down, I believe that growing local produce is helping individuals, the community and the planet.   Today a word about garlic – an incredible food that we would not want to be without!

Ontario’s climate and soil are well suited to growing many varieties of hard neck garlic.   Briefly, garlic is planted in the fall, generally mid October, and it takes root before the snow flies.   It winters over in that condition until the soil warms up a bit and it sprouts in April or early May.   By June we can snip off the tops (called scapes and delicious in their own right) and by July the bulb is ready to harvest.   We can start eating the new crop right away, but we also hang most of the garlic to let it cure, which is essentially letting it dry out.   And here is the amazing thing – once it is dried out it will keep for many months.   According to the garlic books it will keep for about six months, but last year we were still using it in May!

Unfortunately most Ontarians buy their garlic the way they buy the rest of their groceries – as they need it.     So where does your winter garlic come from?    The answer is China, and that is not good news.

There has been much written about the safety of this garlic, take a look at this article if your not aware of those problems, but there are other considerations as well.

Consider for a moment the impact to the environment of the chemicals and bleach that are used on Chinese garlic, the fossil fuels burned to ship the garlic across the ocean, and the marine life that is destroyed by the ships.   Don’t forget the environmental cost of transporting the garlic across the Country when it lands in port.

This then is my challenge, buy organically grown Ontario garlic now, and store it in your home for the winter.   You will have a better quality product, a healthier choice and will have done just a little bit to help save the environment.

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