All of our garlic is hand-crafted and grown organically, without any synthetic chemicals used in any part of the process from seed to harvest to storage.
Since starting our farm in 2009, we have followed only agricultural processes permitted by the National Organic Standards Board, with the full intention of applying for USDA Organic Certification as soon as possible, which would have been this year (2013). However, the extension of the 2007 Farm Bill that just passed in Congress (rather than voting on the 2012 Farm Bill) actually cut farmers’ cost-share reimbursement for this certification in 34 States, one of which was Michigan.
While these short-sighted cuts were a disappointment to us, we will continue to grow our garlic using organic practices and keep the word ‘organic’ in our farm name, however we currently cannot afford to apply for the actual USDA certification this year. If you are so inclined, please call or write your Senators and House Representative (we have) telling them you support expansion of (not cuts to) organic agriculture research, conservation grants, and coverage of the cost-share (it had been up to 75%) of organic certification. Thank you for supporting all small organic farmers, no matter where you live.
The garlic varieties listed below are arranged first by ‘garlic subtype’ (i.e., Applegate – ‘Artichoke’) and then alphabetically within each subtype.
40 Varieties Grown in 2012 including Braiding Garlic
Note: We are completely sold out of our 2012 crop. We are growing 44 varieties in 2013, including four auditioning varieties that still need to be added to the following list.
- A soft-neck variety that is considered easy to grow and rarely bolts (sending up garlic scapes)
- Multiple over-lapping layers of clove (like the leaves of an artichoke, thus its name) with 12-20 cloves per bulb
- Matures early in the season, but has long storage capacity because of the tightness of its clove wrappers
- Generally milder in flavor, often preferred by those who eat their garlic raw for health reasons
A superb mild, yet richly-flavored, heirloom garlic, excellent for pesto or cooking if you want only the most delicate hint of garlic in your dish. Averages 12-18 cloves per bulb.
Inchelium Red Artichoke (Slow Food “Ark of Taste” Heirloom)
A mild but lingering flavor with a tingle. In taste tests at Rodale kitchens this was a top rated softneck. Large bulbed vigorous strain with several layers of cloves. Discovered on the Colville
Indian Reservation, original source unknown. Four or five layers of cloves with up to 20 cloves per bulb.
Italian Late Artichoke (Auditioned variety that made the cut!)
Pleasing, rich garlic flavor. Tight, light colored wrappers over fat round outer cloves. Good for braiding. 8-12 cloves/bulb. Keeps 6-9 months.
Kettle River Giant Artichoke
Rich flavor with medium heat like some hard necks. A good keeper, stores 6 – 7 months. Bulbs contain 10 to 14 huge, white cloves arranged in 2 layers within each bulb. Long-time heirloom garlic from the Pacific Northwest that does well in cold winters.
Lorz Italian Artichoke (auditioning for us in 2012)
One of only two garlic heirloom varieties designated by Slow Food USA for the “Ark of Taste”. Very bold flavor. An heirloom brought to Washington States Columbia Basin from Italy by the Lorz family before the 1900′s. This garlic is well adapted to summer heat, harvests mid-season and stores 6-8 months. This medium-large Italian artichoke garlic is unusual in several ways: color, taste, size and storability. Lorz has more purple in the bulb wrappers than one usually sees in artichoke, and the semi-thick wrappers peel easily away revealing large cream colored cloves with elongated tips and only the faintest hint of purple.
Red Toch Artichoke
Nicely flavored, a bit on the mild side, with minimal heat. Cloves streaked with red and pink. Matures sooner than most softnecks. 12-20 easy-to-peel cloves per bulb. Collected in Republic of Georgia by Hanelt around 1988, near town of Tochliavri. When roasted, this variety has a subtle earthy, smoky flavor, which is different from other artichokes.
Thermadrone Artichoke - Commercial strain originally from France. Impressive, large long storing bulbs. Averages 11 cloves per bulb.
Transylvanian Artichoke - It originated in the heart of the Transylvania Mountains and has nice plump cloves. One of the few robustly flavored artichoke varieties with a hot garlic flavor (woohoo!). Averages about 7 to 9 cloves per bulb.
Purple Stripe Subspecies:
- Hard-neck garlics (produce thick scapes) named for their bright purple streaks and blotches on the outside bulb wrappers and also the clove skins.
- Very complex flavors, often winning garlic tasting contests.
- Most have 8-12 cloves, slightly smaller than the Rocambole subtypes
Chesnok Red Purple Stripe
Medium-hot flavor that preserves its flavor when cooked. Bulbs average 7-10 cloves. Won “best baking garlic” taste tests conducted by Rodale, Sunset Magazine, Martha Stewart and others. Good storage. From Shvelisi, Republic of Georgia.
County Farm Legacy Purple Stripe
Moderately spicy raw and maintains flavor well when roasted or cooked. Adds depth to raw dishes. Large heads with plump, easy to peal, chestnut colored cloves. Found growing in our rented community garden at County Farms Park in Ann Arbor, MI, thus given this ‘legacy’ name when we moved our garlic growing to our farm in 2009.
Purple Glazer Glazed Purple Stripe (Auditioned variety that made the cut!)
This hot garlic is known as one of the best bakers. It has rich burgundy stripes on smooth white skin. An abundant producer from the Republic of Georgia that needs very cold winters for a successful harvest. 9 – 12 cloves per bulb. Stores up to 5 months.
Brown Tempest Marbled Purple Stripe
Initial hot taste that mellows to a pleasing garlicky finish. A great roasting garlic, averages 6 plump cloves per bulb that are easy to peel.
- Hard-neck variety with 4-6 symmetrical large cloves per bulb
- Stores longer than Rocamboles because of their tight clove wrappers
- Produces thick, sturdy, flavorful scapes that are delicious when grilled
Large, dark striped bulbs. Smooth and mild baked. Crunchy raw with a heat that blossoms and only slowly fades.
Georgian Crystal Porcelain (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
Great for salsas and pesto, this garlic is mild when eaten raw. A healthy choice for its high allicin content. Tear-drop shaped bulbs with large cloves. 4 – 6 cloves per bulb. Stores for up to 6 months
German Extra Hardy Porcelain
Strong raw flavor, high sugar content, and not too hot. One of the very best for roasting. 4-5 very large cloves per bulb. Outside skin is ivory-white, but the skin covering the cloves is dark red.
Good flavor, sweet and pungent, very hot when eaten raw. An Italian variety brought to Canada by Al Music in the 1980s. Averages 5 cloves per bulb.
Persian Star Porcelain
Very pleasant flavor with a mild spicy zing. Originally from a Samarkand, Uzbekistan bazaar in the late 1980′s. Averages 7 cloves per bulb. Red-tipped cloves with marbled streaks on a whitish or yellow-brown background.
Romanian Red Porcelain
Strong raw garlic flavor (wahoo!) with a mild initial tingle. Flavor lingers and sweetens in your mouth and ends with a nutty flavor. Roasts well. It is very good for storage for a hardneck variety. aka Red Elephant. Averages 4 to 5 large easy to peel cloves per bulb. Often asked for by name by our repeat customers!
Found at a booth at the Saugerties, NY garlic festival. Packs some heat but finishes mild and almost sweet. Caramelizes well.
Vostani Porcelain (an auditioned variety that made the cut)
Good flavor, sweet and pungent, very hot when eaten raw. Obtained from an “old timer” living near the Washington British Columbia Border
- A very popular hard-neck subspecies with more complex flavors than soft-neck garlic varieties. Each head contains 6-11 large cloves around the center stem with very easy peeling cloves.
- Often stated to be ‘the finest tasting of all garlic…….period!’
- Does not store as long as other garlic varieties, so eat and enjoy these garlics within a few months of harvest.
- The scapes are thick and flavorful, often making 2-3 curls before turning up.
German Mountain Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
Spicy, easy peel cloves from nice plump bulbs. Stores 3-5 months. Averages 8 cloves/bulb.
German Red Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
Hot and spicy at first and mellows quickly. Full of flavor but there is no garlic after taste to it. You won’t taste it for hours afterwards even if eaten raw. From old time gardeners of German descent in Idaho.
Killarney Red Rocambole
Very strong, hot and spicy and sticks around for a long time. An outstanding Rocambole from Idaho similar to Spanish Roja. Better adapted to wet conditions than most others. One of most popular varieties.
Ontario Purple Trillium Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
One of the earliest maturing garlics and packs a ferocious punch. Described by some as a “veritable garlic inferno”, but not everyone, so try it yourself. Averages 8 to 12 cloves per bulb.
Purple Italian Rocambole
Rich and strong, but not overly hot and spicy, with a flavor that sticks around for a while. A very enriching taste experience but not one to burn your tongue. Brought to the USA around a hundred years ago and grown all over Northern states ever since. 8 – 9 easy to peel good-sized cloves.
Slovenian Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
Very rich garlic flavor with a bit of a bite and a hint of a smoky flavor. Originally obtained in Slovenia in the 1980′s. A fabulous producer of large easy to peel bulbs with big cloves. Very popular.
Spanish Roja Rocambole
Good flavor best described as “true” garlic, pleasantly hot and spicy. Roasts well. Heirloom variety brought to the Portland, OR, area before the 1900′s. aka “Greek” or “Greek Blue” by Northwest gardeners. A favorite, even among those who love all Rocamboles.
- A soft-neck subtype that will often produce scapes if stressed by cold winters or drought. Very weak stems, and the last to be harvested.
- Very long storing, thus often the variety found in grocery stores. Also braids easily so its long storage capacity is an advantage.
- Several layers of cloves, often 12-20 per bulb. Tight clove wrappers.
- Can have a hot flavor, even if not complex. Flavor can even increase with storage time.
S&H Silver Silverskin
A mild sweet taste that builds in heat and lingers. 15- 20 large cloves per bulb. Cloves are tall and concave, off-white to tan with pink blush tip. Bottom half of clove often brown. Originally from S&H Organic Acres.
Sicilian Silver Silverskin (Auditioned variety that made the cut)
From Sicily. Very hot, even for a Silverskin, and retains great flavor profile when baked. Bulbs with 15-20 cloves. Harvests later than most and a long storer. An auditioning variety for the past three years that made the cut when our customers sampled in 2011!
Silver Rose Silverskin
Packs a little heat but not extreme, very clean with little after taste. Rosy-skin bulbs have both large and small cloves. Good keepers. Most will be eaten long before the following spring, but a 8 or 9 month shelf life is possible. (The surprise ‘hit’ at Ann Arbor’s 2011 Local Food Festival!)
Silver White Silverskin
Full bodied flavor with a moderate bite that increases with storage. Rose-colored cloves in very smooth, bright white medium to large bulbs. Excellent all-purpose garlic; a good eater and beautiful for braiding. One of our longest storing garlics.
Braiding Mixed softnecks
A mixture of silverskin and artichoke softneck varieties we have traditionally grown for braiding.
- A hard-neck variety when grown in climates with cold winters like Michigan with slender scapes that are the first to emerge
- Large bulbs, one of the earliest varieties to be ready to harvest
- All have attractive, striped bulb and clove wrappers
China Stripe Turban
Milder flavor raw that fades with heat. Best in raw dishes like gazpacho or fresh salsa. Delicate purple stripes adorn an attractive bulb. From a Beijing market.
Creole Red Turban
A robust and rich flavor that is very deep and earthy with enough pungency to let you know you’re eating a real garlic but not being so hot as to be painful. Originally from California virus-free program in 1980′s. Winner of taste tests. A favorite with our customers, asked for by name!
This one retains some heat baked. Raw, the hotness stays with you. Originally from a market in SE China.
Raw it is fast acting and flaming hot. Maintains good garlic flavor baked. From China’s Shandong provence.
Shantong Purple Turban
For those who like hot garlic, this is the one, especially when eaten raw! Typically six to eight large cloves per bulb. As a turban variety, it can sometimes produce a scape when stressed by weather.
Really hot from Shandong Province. A quick sell-out at our stands. We now partial out our harvest so that customers at each market have equal access. We also allow no early sales (like intercepting us in the parking lot when we are bringing this variety to the market). <smile>
Montana Carlos Unspecified hardneck
Hot start that mellows out. Good in soups and mashed potatoes.
Elephant Bulbing Leek
Mild, onion-like flavor, more similar to garlic than to leeks and more palatable than many garlics to some people when used raw. Huge heads with large cloves that caramelize well. Despite the name, it is not a true garlic but a specialized leek, a related member of the Allium genus. It’s scapes develop interesting and beautiful flower heads.
**Our green garlic is a mix of all of these varieties, some due to planning, some due to ‘whoops! – what variety is this?’ type of occurrences.
Varieties listed below “auditioned” in 2009 and 2010 plantings but did not make the cut after the 2011 harvest to be replanted in 2011.
*Nootka Rose (Silverskin)
Heirloom from Washington state. Rich, almost mellow for
15-20 seconds, then a medium heat rush lasting for 30-45
seconds. Deep mahogony cloves with red streaks. Bulbs
with 15-20 cloves. Almost always the last garlic to mature
and be harvested and a long storer.
*Pescadero Red (Creole)
Really spicy, medium heat with a lingering spicy
taste. Not as large as most garlic, 1-inch bulbs
are common. Beautiful, almost crimson streaked
clove wrappers, 8-10 cloves per bulb.
Cooks well with no bitter aftertaste. Less sweet
than other rocamboles. Introduced to America
from Czechoslovakia in the 1920s.
*Red Grain (Purple Stripe)
Very pleasant flavor with a spicy, mild zing.
From Chichisdzhavari, Republic of Georgia.