Just ten years ago, Australia had 1 600 garlic growers. Yet with the initial dumping of cheap imports, local growers couldn’t compete. They disappeared, taking with them hundreds of garlic varieties.
Today, Australians eat 3 500 tonnes of garlic annually. We produce just a fraction of this, about 500 tonnes. So the vast majority is imported; mostly it comes from China, but also from Africa, Taiwan, New Zealand and the United States.
Imported garlic may be grown with chemicals banned in Australia. According to the Australian Garlic Industry Association, imported garlic is cool-stored; treated with growth inhibitors to stop it from sprouting on the shelf; bleached with chlorine for whiteness; and fumigated with methyl bromide (by law) to kill bugs and plant matter.
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Worse still, the varieties are selected for their yield and storage life. Not for flavour. So should you meet a very old and powerful vampire, this clove will not work! It’s a shadow of its former self.
Want juicy and flavourful garlic? Need pungent toum to send a vampire to his tomb?
You need Australian garlic.
How to select and store
Garlic bulbs should feel firm with no soft patches. Different garlic varieties have different keeping qualities. Generally, from their November harvest, garlic will last up to April before sprouting. In temperate areas, bulbs should be stored in a well-ventilated, cool, dark and dry place; a mesh bag is ideal. In hot or humid areas, garlic may be best stored in the fridge to avoid the humidity; it isn’t ideal, as the flavour is diminished. For longer storage, garlic may be easily frozen.
Contribute: Do you know a farm that should be here? Email info AT flavourcrusader DOT com for inclusion. Learn more about the directories.
Barrington River Organic Farm, Tea Gardens
Fertile soil, cold winters and high rainfall makes Barrington an ideal place to plant garlic. Employing organic and biodynamic principles, Jan and Lesley enrich their soils with wood ash and oyster shells. They grow one variety, Glen Large (Italian Pink). ACO Certification No. 10089.
Borrowed Land, Robertson
The name pays respect to the original occupants of the region, the Gundungurra and Wodi Wodi peoples. Penny Simons and Sahlan Hayes hand weed, pick and sort the garlic by hand. They use organic, permaculture and bio-dynamic farming/gardening techniques, and no chemicals are used on the land.
Boutique Garlic, Springside
Dougal combines many different methods to grow food, including conventional, organic, biodynamic, holistic and scientific. He mainly grows garlic, up to ten acres each year, including the NZ Purple, Monaro, Printator (commonly known as Australian White) and Elephant Garlic varieties.
Brightside Produce, Captains Flat
Emily Yarra and Michael Kobier produce a range of heirloom vegetables on their small biological farm. They sell through weekly produce boxes, with an array of seasonal vegetables and eggs, delivered to a central collection point in Canberra.
Bungonia Creek, Bungonia
Melissa and David Armstrong hand plant and harvest Monaro Purple garlic. They prepare the soil with organic and mineral soil conditioners, and biodynamic preparations in summer, and sow the garlic in autumn. During winter, the garlic is kept mulched, watered, and weeded, before harvesting in November.
Byron Bay Garlic Company, Byron Bay
Will and Vanessa Cotterill produce Purple, White, Black (fermented) and Russian garlic (garleek) using biodynamic methods; to enrich the soil they use free range chickens, compost and green manure.
The Farmgate, Nashdale
John, daughter Katie and son-in-law Beau are third and fourth-generation farmers plant mainly Italian Red with a few other varieties by hand, totalling around 45 000 in the ground.
Four Acre Farm, Dungog
Dom Northam and Tom Christie use permaculture principles in their small market garden. Their main crop is a hardneck variety that they call ‘Italian Purple’, and they are also trialing several other cultivars.
The garlicsmith, Orange
Jez and Bee Smith sow, weed, and harvest their garlic by hand. The subsequent hanging, curing and trimming is also by hand. The garlic is grown in rich volcanic soil – aided by bio-weed, bio-seaweed and bio-fungicide – and the sun, rain and bore water.
Garlic Farmacy, Mungay Creek
Stephen and Kerrianne McNamara grow hard neck and soft neck varieties using organic processes, up river in the Macleay Valley. They use biodynamic and organic nutrients, many of which are made on-farm, with no use of chemicals, pesticides or herbicides.
Gilles Australian Garlic, Jembaicumbene
Gilles Bonin and Victoria Clutterbuck produce Australian Purple Hard Neck garlic in an ideal climate: cold in winter, and hot and dry during summer. They don’t use chemicals or pesticides, preferring green manure crops, compost and natural minerals for biological soil balancing.
Goulburn Garlic, Goulburn
Jane Sherborne-Higgins and Harold Higgins produce three varieties of garlic: Monaro Purple, Italian Red and Italian White. They farm using biodynamic methods, using no chemicals or heavy machinery, with everything done by hand.
Green Goddess Farm, Findon Creek
Rhys Minton and Sasha Welker grow up to 40 different kinds of vegetables, fruits and flowers on their 3.5 acre certified organic farm. They grow Russian Garlic.
Green Heart Organic Garlic, Roberston
Mat Campbell and Annie Clark grow and sell three varieties of certified organic garlic—hard neck, soft neck and Russian—in the volcanic soils and cold winters of the Southern Highlands. They pop, plant, propagate, harvest, cure and sell all the garlic by hand.
Hunter Valley Produce, Cedar Creek
Amber and Jeremy hand weed their garlic crops and do not use synthetic chemicals. They also practice crop rotation to ensure that their produce is rich with minerals and nutrients. They grow purple Australian and Italian pink garlic.
Ingelara is a biodynamic farm owned and run by Tobias and Beatrice Koenig, Peter Bottomley and Gini Osborne. Together with John Pye and Angus Boxall, they produce two garlic varieties: Monaro Red Hardneck and Australian White Softneck.
Macquariedale Organic Wine, Rothbury
Ross and Derice McDonald prepare the soil for a few years with crops to enrich it with organic matter and nutrients. They then apply biodynamic preparations. The garlic is planted in autumn and harvested in summer; with patience, they are rewarded with a fresh, flavoursome, and an alive product.
Moore Wollombi Garlic, Wollombi
Dean and Natalie Moore have a strong paddock-to-plate philosophy, growing feed for their livestock, and producing meat and vegetables. Located near the southern gateway to Hunter Valley, they enjoy cool winters and warm spring weather, ideal growing conditions for early season Red garlic.
Morganics Farm, Mt Canobolas
Libby and Ken Morgan believe the rich volcanic soil, 1 100 metres above sea level, with winter rain and snow followed by hot, dry summers, gives their garlic a wonderful flavour. They produce Purple hard-stemmed, pearly White Soft-neck and Silverskin garlic.
Myrtle Creek Garlic, Wyndham
Annabel and Josh Dorrough grow without chemical fertilisers, herbicides or fungicides. Varieties include: Italian Purple Stripe, White porcelain, Chesnock Red, Germidour, Transylvanian, Printanor, Italian White and Giant Russian (Elephant).
Mystery Creek Farm, Skillion Flat
Astrid McCormick, located near Kempsey, produces Italian White and Russian garlic using organic methods. The produce is grown free of synthetic chemicals.
Near River Produce, Hollisdale
Therese and Andrew Fearne farm organically and follow many of the principles of Eliot Coleman and Joel Salatin. Each clove is cultivated and harvested by hand. Mulch, biodynamic preparations and compost teas applied to enrich the soil.
Ontos Garlic, W Tree
Fred Koch and Neroli Hadfield grow organic purple hard neck. They try to make use of innovations such as using mulch collected from our paddocks and the creation of planting and harvesting tools.
Park Hill Garlic, Moss Vale
Margie Stuart produces garlic without sprays, pesticides or chemicals. She uses untreated rainwater and plants, cultivates and harvests by hand. Two varieties are grown: the hard neck Rocombole, with a beautiful rounded full flavour, and a long lasting White one.
Patrice Newell, Gundy
Patrice Newell and Phillip Adams have been the custodians of biodynamic Elmswood Farm for 26 years. Their main crop is a Purple variety; it grows without pest problems, can be peeled easily and tastes marvellous! It’s an old-style variety, closely related to wild garlic. They also grow Soft-neck White garlic.
Pokolbin Purple, Pokolbin
In the midst of Hunter Valley Wine country, with rich organic clay soils, Elizabeth organically grows and hand processes garlic. Through taste and performance selection, she is concentrating on growing three main varieties: Italian Pink, Italian Purple and Rojo de Castro.
Rochford Organic Garlic, Tenterfield
Certified organic/biodynamic since 2001, Dick and Dora Rochford specialize in two varieties of garlic: the Oriental Purple and the Elephant (Russian). They use the African Love grass as mulch; a water wheel and solar pump is used for irrigation; and their home is solar powered.
Snowy Mountain Garlic, Jindabyne
Stephen Wallis grows garlic using certified organic and biodynamic fertilisers in the Australian Alps, at an altitude of 1 160 metres above sea level. He grows the Monaro Purple and Italian White varieties.
Stellar Garlic, Mitchells Island
Using homegrown compost and mulch, Ian and Stella Rowland plant the garlic in rich soil. The Purple Hard Neck Garlic and the hotter White Soft Neck are grown.
Sweet Water Farm, West Kempsey
The certified organic farm is comprised of 25 acres on the edge of the mighty Macleay River on the mid coast of New South Wales. Marcus Skipper and Sally Jane Ayre-Smith grow two varieties: Russian garlic and Rosie’s, a French Garlic.
Sylva Lining Organics, Eungella
The family owned and run business was born from the desire to provide highly nutritional, clean organic food for the family. Ian Willis and Sylva Oblerholster specialise in Russian and Spanish Garlic seasonally available from October.
Westmead Park Natural Farm, Braidwood
Alison has been growing garlic for her extended family for many years. The garlic is grown without chemicals or pesticides, and is hand sown, hand weeded and hand harvested. The main crop is hard necked purple garlic; she also grows Australian white, and will offer soft necked varieties in future seasons.
Wynlen House, Braidwood
Bronwyn and Helen grow a variety of garlic, including hard neck purple and hard neck white, Spanish Roja, Dunganski, and Silver Skin at the micro farm. They draw on a range of organic philosophies in their practice, including bio-dynamic, permaculture and biological.
Angelica Organic Farm, Glenlyon
Tim and Deri-Anne Wyatt produce certified organic Red Rocambole garlic almost entirely by hand in the Daylesford region. Buy their lovingly grown garlic through their online shop or at farmers’ market stalls in Melbourne.
Blue Sky Organics, Murrindal
The family grows several varieties of garlic: Red Rocambole, Tasmanian Purple, Silverskin, White Crookneck and Elephant (Russian). The garlic is grown without the use of any pesticides, chemicals or artificial fertilizers and is hand planted, hand weeded and hand harvested.
Blue Tongue Berries, Seymour
Nick Bray and Cynthia Lim planted their first large crop of 1 500 white and purple Australian garlic in the Autumn of 2012; a successful harvest saw them increase production to 3 000 the next year.
Crofters Fold Garlic, Kyneton
In 2006 Ashley planted his first organic garlic clove, gifted by a family friend who had been growing for more than 30 years. Each year since then, Ashley Wren has been sowing, weeding, harvesting, cleaning each beautiful bulb by hand.
Garlic World, Port Campbell
Simon and Sarah Illingworth grow garlic using natural spring water, manure and mulch. Their grow many varieties including Californian Late ‘USA’, Rose Du Var ‘French’, Rojo De Castro ‘Cuban Purple’ and Russian Pink.
High Country Farm, Mansfield
Josh and Edwina pack their bags and moved from the big smoke to the high country of Victoria to grow garlic. They use organic farming principles, and do everything by hand – planting, weeding, picking, curing, and packing.
Katamatite Garlic, Katamatite
Grahame and Lisa Eddy grow their garlic using permaculture principles and organic methods to gradually improve the soil. No chemical fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides or soil conditioners are used. The Rocambole purple striped skin and the Silver Skin are grown.
Mirboo Farm, Mirboo
Kirsten Jones produces a small boutique crop of chemical-free garlic, with planting and weeding by hand. The soil is fertilised with organic matter from neighbouring farms. The main variety grown is the Red Italian hard neck, with some soft neck varieties: Rose du Var, Aussie White and Italian Late.
Shambani Garlic, Junotown
Hamish and Lindy grow Shambani purple, rose du var and white printanor garlic naturally without chemical pesticides. Instead they use seaweed and fish products along with horse and chicken manures. All the garlic is planted, mulched, weeded and harvested by hand. Failed crop
Top Hundred Acres, north of Melbourne
Kate and Judy Rothacker source certified organic seed stock and grow without pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. The crop is weeded by hand and the soil is fed with organic inputs such as manures. The garlic is watered with rainwater pumped from the dam, harvested by hand and cured to ensure long storage life.
Weyhill Farm, Ranceby
Stewart Trent and Julie Wallace hand plant and hand harvest their garlic in the clay loam soil. They grow mostly Monaro Rocambole, using organic growing principals, natural feed and fertilisers.
See NSW producers.
Mary Valley Garlic, Lagoon Pocket
Naturaleza Farm is a small family-run regenerative agriculture property. Luke and Ken Stacey produce three types of garlic annually, Glen Large, Australian Purple and the family heirloom, the Giant Elephant. They use a range of techniques to mimic natural ecosystem processes.
Super Natural Organics, Tewantin
Peter Doff and Wendy Robertson grow Giant Russian and Asiatic garlic on their small acreage farm. They use mulch hay to suppress weeds, reduce water consumption, avoids soil erosion and nutrient leaching. They apply humus-rich compost for healthy plants that resist pests and diseases.
Allisford Farm, Beachport
Shirley Brown about 15 different varieties on the certified organic farm. The hard neck garlic, she explains, has better flavour yet poorer keeping qualities, whereas the soft neck garlic stores well.
Ananda Organic, Naracoorte
Elizabeth and Rob hand till their soil, and the garlic is hand planted, weeded and harvested. They use only the very best organic fertilisers and mulch. Both are passionate about organic food and try to grow as much of their own healthy organic food as possible.
Greenman Organics, Osmington
Mike Thompson and Lee Jeffress plant garlic in autumn and harvest in the summer. The bulbs are from a purple hard-neck cultivar that can be traced back to the 60s. Once the garlic is picked, the leafy tops are plaited and the bulbs are hung up to dry for three to four weeks.
Osmington Mill Garlic, Margaret River
Jeanette and Richard Mill grow three styles of garlic, the Purple Stripe, Californian White and Rojo, without the use of artificial fertilisers or sprays. They plant, weeded and harvest the garlic by hand.
Brymworth Farm, Flinders Island
Mark and Sophie Pitchford grow Flinders Island Purple Garlic and the Spanish Rojo varieties on their small family farm.
Hobart City Farm, Hobart
Hannah, Bridget, Louise, James and Sam have harvested their first crop of garlic, grown in their small urban farm. The garlic was grown in a space just 15 by 20 metres, demonstrating that a vast amount of food can be grown in any suburban block.
King Island Natural Garlic, King Island
Carmen Holloway grows a range of garlic cultivars, specializing in late storing, red skinned Creole, which is available later in the year. She grows using permaculture and biological principles, with no pesticide, herbicide, fumigants, bleach or GMO. The garlic is available at the farmgate, King Island markets, and through mail order.
Old School Farm, Preston
Run by the residents of the Old Preston Primary School, the farm grows garlic using biological principles; they don’t work the ground too much, nor do they use fungicides, insecticides, harsh fertilizers or herbicides.
Tasmanian Natural Garlic, Meander Valley
Rosie and Andrew MacKinnon grow nine varieties of garlic at Mouquet Farm. Green spring garlic and scapes are available in November; the plants are harvested and dried for selling after Christmas, with bulbs and plaits from January to late winter and cloves through the autumn.
Tasmanian Black Garlic Co, Huon Valley
Jacquay and Bruce Christie produce Purple and Black (fermented) garlic. Their pigs weed, till and fertilise the soil; green manure crop is sown; raised beds are formed and dusted with organic soil conditioner; garlic is planted; mulched applied; garlic is harvested; then hung to air dry and cure.
Tasmanian Gourmet Garlic, Middleton
Letitia Ware grows a variety of specialty cultivars, selected for unrivalled culinary excellence. The garlic is grown certified organically and ecologically in cold climate conditions to intensify their quality, flavour and aroma.
Contribute: Do you know a farm that should be here? Email info AT flavourcrusader DOT com for inclusion. Learn more about the directories.