Monthly Archives: July 2015

White Rock Farmer’s Market a Big Hit!

20150712_132339 (1)Here’s John at our nearly empty booth near the end of the Farmer’s Market in White Rock this past Sunday (July 12th, 2015).  We had a great time and were kept busy right to the close.  In the end we sold nearly 100 pounds of fresh garlic directly to the consumer.  It was a blast meeting so many people who paid so much attention to the food they bought.

For the many customers who asked how we grow our garlic, we will be developing a “HOW TO” section to this website over the next few weeks.  We will start selling seed garlic next week.  We will be at the Abbotsford Farmer’s market on Saturday, July 18th and at the White Rock Market on Sunday, July 19th.  See you there!

Published: July 13, 2015 | Comments: 0

Bulbil Types

20150710_11203820150710_11430320150707_150011Here are three types of hardneck bulbils.  We will select the biggest for fall planting.  The top two are different strains of porcelains while the popular purple stripes are shown at the bottom.  We plant them in the fall in green houses that affords some protection from the worst of winter’s weather and gives the plants time to grow into a 3 or 4 clove bulbs by the following summer.

20150710_134910These are purples planted last November and harvested late this June.  Notice the larger ones show segmentation into small cloves.  We will break these apart and replant  this fall.  Next summer the hundreds of bulbs produced will be our finest seed garlic.  In the fall of 2016 we will plant that generation of cloves and in the summer of 2017 we will harvest giant purples.  It takes a minimum of three plantings to get these plants up to maximum size.  That is why it has taken us several years to get our commercial crop up and running.  We are set to greatly increase our market crop next year with thousands of replacement plants waiting in the wings.

We only sell our largest bulbs for table garlic.  The seed garlic is 1-2 years younger and is far superior.  We never use our giant bulbs as seed garlic.  They simply lack the vigour of the younger generations.  I’ve spoken to many gardeners who are puzzled by their garlic crop that only seems to get smaller every year.  The reason is the loss of vigour from repeatedly replanting cloves from the same line of plants.  To regain size, growers must start with younger bulbs.  Our goal is to eventually have substantial amounts of 2nd or 3rd year bulbs available for sale to the general public.

We believe this method of producing seed garlic is far superior to all others. We also feel that our Zone 8 (temperate maritime) horticultural bio-region is unique and we look to sell our Zone 8 seed to Zone 8 growers.  Buying seed garlic from B.C.’s interior or Southern Ontario is less satisfactory for the plants, and this negatively affect yields.

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To give you some idea of sizes, here is one of the purple small bulbs in front of two jumbo table garlics.  The two bigger bulbs are close to 3 inches across. The small is barely an inch.

Published: July 10, 2015 | Comments: 0

Abby Garlic at White Rock Farmer’s Market!

20150530_194310Great News! Abby Garlic will be selling at the White Rock Farmer’s Market starting this Sunday, July 12th. John and I look forward to meeting new friends and customers this weekend.  We plan on being there every Sunday for at least 10 weeks (or until we sell out!). We sell our large garlics for $2.00 each or three for $5.00. (Works out to less than $10.00 per pound!)  To check out the market go to: http://www.whiterockfarmersmarket.ca

Published: July 8, 2015 | Comments: 0

Late Spanish Onions Planted

20150708_06402620150708_070227John prepped this plot with his harrow and after a good soaking of water we quickly rolled out 100 feet of craft paper. I made the planting holes while John followed behind with the Spanish onion sets.  We planted 6 wide across a 3 foot strip of paper.

20150708_07024720150708_073543I then followed John with some of Net Zero’s terrific compost and laid down a one inch covering over the onion sets.  The finished product is on the right.  1,000 onions planted in less than one hour.  The sprinkler will be turned on to give everything a good soak.  We should see germination within 48 hours.  This late in the season we hope to get some late green onions or scallions.  Weather permitting we should be pulling them up to November.   All without any weeding!! We have one more 100′ bed to put down tomorrow morning and then we are done planting the Spanish onions.

Published: July 8, 2015 | Comments: 0

Russian Bulbils Harvested

20150707_150011Here are some of the bulbil clusters we recently harvested from selected purple stripe plants.  Notice the wide range of sizes and colours from the same variety of garlic.  We will use much of this for fall and spring plantings but there will be some available for sale after Labour Day Weekend.  Next year they wil be harvested as “rounds”.

20150707_150021Here are some of this summer’s rounds.  This is a mixture of purples and porcelains (whites).  Most are round and unsegmented like a small onion set. However a few show clove segments. All will be planted this fall and will form the basis of our commercial crop in two years.  Two successive years of breaking the bulbs into cloves and replanting each clove will produce some eye-popping numbers.  100 of these rounds will produce 400-500 small cloves next year with 2,000-3,000 market size plants coming along in the second year.

Published: July 7, 2015 | Comments: 0

We Start Selling at the Farmers Market July 11th

20150616_151629After a very successful weekend at the Berry Festival we will start selling this weekend (Sat. July 11th) at the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market at the north end of Montrose in the Historic Downtown.  We will be there from 9-1 every Saturday throughout the summer until our crop is sold out.   Our giant bulbs sell for $2.00 each or 3 for$5.00. (That’s about $8-9 a pound roughly). See you there!

Published: July 7, 2015 | Comments: 0

Great Time to Pickle Garlic

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Pickled garlic is a tasty way to enjoy fresh garlic all winter.  Since most untreated garlic rarely lasts beyond December we find pickling to be a terrific way of preserving the best of fresh, clean garlic all winter.  We soaked our bulbs in hot water for a few minutes then trimmed the ends and peeled the cloves.  John spent a few hours under his patio tent and we eventually bagged over 20 pounds of ready-to-pickle giant cloves.

We like adding dill, hot peppers and a basic pickling season pre-mix to ours. We will be adding more pictures this week as we go through the process.  We will pickle several times a year.  We mainly use the large bulbs that have some minor flaws.  Often one clove may be bruised from the harvest or racking procedures despite our best efforts to avoid any damage.  Some were bruised in the ground when they tried to swell up against a rock or root.  The bulbs are fine.  We slice off the small brown freckle that forms on the flesh and the rest goes into the pickle pile.

The bottom picture shows a few simple ingredients: pickling herb mix, Kosher salt, white vinegar and a 10 lb bag of peeled garlic cloves. On a hot July evening we chose to do this outside in the shade of a patio tent.

 

20150707_192517Boiling water in the kitchen with a 30 degree air temperature outside would be unbearable.  This handy propane cooker quickly brought our water to a rolling boil. Taking it outside kept us cooler.

20150708_07435790 minutes later we had 24 pints of pickled garlic cooling down inside the house.  They will be ready to eat in 30 days.  It took slightly less than 15 pounds of raw garlic to produce 24 pints (12 quarts).  We have another 15 pounds to pickle tomorrow.

Published: July 7, 2015 | Comments: 0

Seed garlic on sale at Berry Fest

20150701_075331John stands in our bed of porcelain seed garlic.  The top-sets are filled with bulbils that can be planted this fall for spring garlic chives or garlic rounds (like an onion set) that when replanted forms the first generation of garlic bulbs.  These bulbs make excellent seed garlic with 8-10 plantable cloves in each bulb.  A great way to start your own garlic patch.

These large hardnecks produce a strong flavoured raw garlic but the big bulbs are great roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper in tinfoil.  Ideal for oven or barbeque.

Published: July 1, 2015 | Comments: 0

Walla Walla Onions Impress

20150701_075522John exhausts his grip trying to hold up two of the larger Walla Walla onions from the big hoop barn.  It was our first year growing this sweet onion variety and we will sell out in less than a month.  They are a favourite of restaurants.  Next year we will offer a lot more of these as well as two other extra-large onion varieties.

Published: July 1, 2015 | Comments: 0