Garlic Variety Descriptions

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 agricultural processes with the full intention of applying for USDA Organic Certification as soon as possible, which would have been in 2013. However, the extension of the 2007 Farm Bill that was passed by Congress in January 2013 (rather than voting on the 2012 Farm Bill) actually cut the farmers’ cost-share reimbursement for this certification cost in 34 States, one of which was Michigan.

While these short-sighted cuts were a deep disappointment to us, we continued to grow our garlic using organic practices and keep the word ‘organic’ in our farm name, however we could not afford the full cost for the USDA certification in 2013. The ultimate passage of the Farm Bill in 2014 re-instated the  farmers’ cost-share reimbursement for organic certification in all 50 states, so we were back on track to finally achieve full USDA organic certification.

During the long, cold winter of 2014 we prepared our organic plan and mailed off the application to Oregon Tilth, the 3rd-party certification agency that we chose for our farm’s inspection. We were inspected and received our official certification on June 20, 2014. It is fair to say that we are still excited about our official certification and proudly display the USDA Organic sign on our tent at our local markets!

The garlic varieties that we grow are listed below arranged first by ‘garlic subtype’ and then alphabetically within each subtype (i.e., ‘Artichoke’ is the subtype and Applegate is the variety name). 

43 Varieties Grown in 2014 including Braiding Garlic

Artichoke Subspecies:

  • A soft-neck variety that is considered easy to grow and rarely bolts (sending up garlic scapes)
  • Multiple over-lapping layers (like the leaves of an artichoke, thus its name) of mostly evenly sized cloves 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

Available – Applegate  Artichoke 
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.

Available – 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.

Available – 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.

Available – 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.

Available – Lorz Italian  Artichoke (auditioned for us first in 2012, still being planted and earning its continued spot in our soil) 
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.

Available – 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 delicious and unexpected subtle earthy and smoky flavor, which is different from other artichoke varieties.

Available – Thermadrone  Artichoke - Commercial strain originally from France. Impressive, large long storing bulbs.  If you want do to authentic French cooking, this is your garlic variety. Averages 11 cloves per bulb.

Available – Transylvanian  Artichoke – This variety 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.

Creole Subspecies: originally from Spain and southern France, grows best in warmer climates than ours

Sold out – Creole Red  Creole
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 and sells out quickly!

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

Sold out – Bogatyr  Marbled Purple Stripe – Auditioning for us in 2013 and 2014.                                            A hardneck variety found in Moscow. Said to be one of the spiciest garlics with 5-7 large cloves/bulb although the heat does not last long so can be used in raw dishes. Said to store 7-8 months, which is long for a hardneck garlic variety, although we cannot vouch for its storage capacity since our customers quickly bought and tasted our entire 2013 harvest.

Available – at Argus Farm Stop – 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.

Available – at Argus Farm Stop – 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.

Available – 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.

Available – 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.

Porcelain Subspecies:

  • 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

Sold out – 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

Sold out – 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.

Sold out – Music  Porcelain 
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.

Available – Persian Star  Porcelain (for eating only, not planting)
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.

Sold out – 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, even some very adventurous children!

Sold out – Stull  Porcelain 
Found at a booth at the Saugerties, NY garlic festival. Packs some heat but finishes mild and almost sweet. Caramelizes well. A favorite!

Sold out – 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

Rocambole Subspecies:

  • 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.

Available as “Garlic Clusters” – German Mountain  Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut) 
Spicy (even spicier than Killarney Red to our tastes!), easy to peel cloves from nice plump bulbs, even on small heads. Stores 3-5 months. Averages 8 cloves per bulb.

Sold out – 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.

Available – at Argus Farm Stop – 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.

Available – 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.

Sold out – 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.

Sold out – 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.

Sold out – Spanish Roja  Rocambole 
Good flavor best described as “true” garlic, pleasantly hot and spicy. Roasts well. Heirloom variety brought to the Portland, Oregon area before the 1900’s. aka “Greek” or “Greek Blue” by Northwest gardeners. A favorite, even among those who love all Rocamboles.

Silverskin Subspecies:

  • 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.

Available – 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.

Available – 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!

Available – 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!)

Available – 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.

Turban Subspecies:

  • 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
  • All of our turban varieties have produced scapes that are true-tasting to the specific garlic – a great way for our customers to taste a preview of the wowza flavor that is to come!

Sold Out – Blossom  Turban 
Large, dark striped bulbs. Smooth and mild baked. Crunchy raw with a heat and flavors that blossom, like a flower slowly opening up, and only slowly fades.

Available – 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.

Available – Lotus  Turban
This one retains some heat baked. Raw, the hotness stays with you.  Originally from a market in SE China.

Sold out – Red Janice  Asiastic Turban                                                                                    Auditioning for us in 2013 and 2014. A hard neck variety believed to be from The Republic of Georgia. A spicy garlic with 6-8 large cloves that have a blush, pinkish color and outer wrappers with purple striping. Very few (almost none) small teeny cloves. Harvests earlier than most.

Available – at Argus Farm Stop – Shandong  Turban
Raw it is fast acting and flaming hot. Maintains good garlic flavor baked. From China’s Shandong provence. (Some is still available at the Argus Farm Stop, but our market stock is now sold out).

Sold out – Shantung 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.

Available – Tzan  Turban 
Really hot from Shandong Province. So popular at our market stands that 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>

Available – Montana Carlos  Unspecified hardneck 
Hot start that mellows out. Good in soups and mashed potatoes.

Sold out – 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. Elephant garlic is a very long ‘keeper’ on your pantry shelf.

Not Available – “Eric&AlisonInIndia” Uncertain soft-neck or hard-neck variety                                                                             A variety of garlic brought back from an Indian market in 2012, first raised separately in our family garden, then planted for a full season’s growth in the field with our other 40+ garlic varieties in 2013. The scapes produced were delicious (delicately flavored) with the garlic heads themselves being rather zingy! However, the 2014 production was a disappointment (actually a complete flop!), with scapes that were wispy and heads that simply were teeny, no larger than marbles. Obviously, although this garlic was delicious, this variety has not adapted to our climate or our soil or both. So, sadly, “Eric&AlisonInIndia” will not make the cut and become part of our regular garlic offerings.

Not Available – “Japanese Doll” – Unknown variety                                                             A variety of garlic sent to us by friends in Japan who purchased it at an open market. We received these heads during the winter 2013, stored them in the refrigerator until early spring when the soil was finally thawed enough to plant the individual cloves. Each clove easily and clearly sprouted and was growing great until mid June, when it just disappeared, all of it, everything growing above ground plus below. Seriously! I could not believe my eyes. I had weeded the bed then went back to check on them a week later to find nothing in the bed. Nothing. No footprints, no teeth marks, no digging, no evidence of anyone or anything eating it. Just gone, 100%, gone! So variety #44 is out the door, simply gone, gone, gone. Such a disappointment, such a mystery! So sorry! 

**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 for a variety of reasons (i.e., did not grow well in our location or did not offer any markedly different attribute to our current selections). We have sold or eaten all of these garlic varieties and have none to offer, none to sell.

*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.

*Pitarelli (Rocambole)
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.