WE SPECIALIZE IN GROWING GOURMET, HARDNECK GARLIC VARIETIES.
A Rose by Any Other Name...
You may think all garlic is the same, but that couldn't be further from the truth. There are very distinctive and not-so-subtle flavor and growth behavior differences between garlic varieties that may surprise you.
We are currently growing six different cultivars, or families, of gourmet and heirloom hardneck garlics: Porcelain, Rocambole, Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe and Asiatic. We specialize in growing these families because they are the most winter hardy, so they thrive in our colder climate. We've also found that hardneck garlics peel easier and are more flavorful than their softneck counterparts.
Click here to learn more about all the unique qualities of each of the garlic families our family loves to grow and share! Also, be sure to check out our Raw Garlic Heat Scale below, then read on about the many differences between softneck and hardneck garlic, and why our garlic is considered gourmet and heirloom.
WINTER HARDY WITH STRONG FLAVORS:
Hardneck garlic varieties develop a long, flowering stem, called a scape, which eventually develops tiny bulbils at its top end.
Under ground, around this central flowering stem, is a single row of cloves wrapped together in a papery sheath to form the “head” or bulb of garlic.
Scapes are usually cut or snapped from hardneck plants in the early summer, as the production of bulbils (genetic copies of the parent plant, not seeds) can rob energy from the plant and result in smaller garlic bulbs at the end of the growing season.
Hardneck garlic varieties tend to do best in colder climates as they are more winter hardy than softnecks. We specialize in growing hardneck garlic varieties because we're definitely in a northern climate (zone 3).
Though they have fewer cloves per bulb than softneck types, the cloves are larger and jucier on hardneck garlic varieties.
Hardneck varieties do not store quite as long as softnecks. They begin to deteriorate within four to eight months of harvest, depending on the variety, even under ideal storage conditions.
Hardneck garlic cloves peel easier than softnecks and are considered gourmet and heirloom varieties.
Most people find that hardnecks are more pungent than their softneck counterparts with a flavor range from hot to mild, and from savory or spicy to sweet.
Originating from wild garlic near the Black and Caspian Seas, there are five hardneck families: Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, and Rocambole.
MILDER IN FLAVOR BUT LONG-STORING:
Softneck garlic varieties are best for warmer climates as they’re not generally as cold-hardy as hardneck varieties.
Softnect garlic varieties store very well, making them an ideal fit for mass production. Most grocery store garlic and garlic that is imported from China is softneck garlic.
Softneck bulbs will last for nine to twelve months under ideal storage conditions.
There are many cloves in each sofneck bulb, not just a single row like hardnecks. Some cloves are large while others are small.
Softnecks do not develop a scape, so their stems stay soft and flexible, making them excellent for creating braids of garlic.
HAND PLANTED & HARVESTED WITH CARE:
The word "gourmet" isn’t just a marketing gimmick or a fancy restaurant term. Gourmet garlic is different than supermarket garlic, or even some varieties found at your local natural foods store because:
it requires premium quality, healthy planting stock;
it grows in soil that is nutrient-rich and well-prepared;
it is planted by hand and spaced further apart than the more intensively farmed, mass-produced garlic;
it is grown naturally, without the use of any pesticides or herbicides; and
it is harvested and cured by hand.
WHY DO WE GROW GOURMET GARLIC?
Not only do we love garlic, but we also enjoy the hands-on growing process and extra care required to bring premium, gourmet garlic to more tables. Let's face it, there is enough "bland and flavorless" out there. We're excited to spice things up!
SUPERIOR QUALITY, EXCEPTIONAL FLAVOR, HYPERLOCAL:
All About Heirloom Garlic
WHAT DOES HEIRLOOM MEAN?
An heirloom plant is an old cultivar of a plant that is grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers, and passed down from generation to generation. Many heirloom vegetables, including garlic, have been saved and grown for decades, and even centuries because they are the best performers in home and market gardens.
HOW ARE HEIRLOOM PLANTS DIFFERENT?
Most plant breeding programs for modern hybrids have sacrificed taste, quality and nutrition in order to achieve mass production and nationwide or worldwide distribution. On the other hand, heirloom plant seeds are always open pollinated, and are not modified genetically to survive mass-distribution because local growers usually sell or share their produce much closer to home. So heirloom plants are really the backbone of the "eat local" ideology.
WHY DO WE GROW HEIRLOOM GARLIC?
We are drawn to sustainably and naturally grow heirloom garlic for three reasons. First, it is hands-down superior in quality when compared to commercially grown softneck varieties.
Second, and most importantly, heirloom garlic really does have exceptional flavor. The taste and quality of hybrid garlic doesn’t even compare to heirloom. The aroma is more pungent, there are more flavor profiles, the aftertaste lingers longer on the tongue, and the texture is firmer, plumper and juicier. Once you start growing and using heirloom garlic, you'll never go back!
Third, we're huge fans of the hyperlocal food movement that is catching on worldwide. We're proud to be doing our best to grow and promote local flavors and our community as we do our part to support this amazing farm-to-table movement.