Garlic Variety Descriptions

Since founding our farm in 2009, all of our garlic has always been both hand-crafted and grown organically, without any synthetic chemicals used in any part of the process, from always using certified organic seed stock to harvest to cleaning to storage. As of 2014, we proudly became a certified organic farm, using Oregon Tilth as our certifying agency. 

The garlic varieties that we have planted for the 2017 harvest 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). 

21 Varieties Planted in 2016 (including our Braiding Garlic Medley) for our July 2017 Harvest

(Special Note: We downsized in Fall 2016, planting only ~1/3 of our 2016 total of cloves and only ~20 varieties for the 2017 harvest, versus the much larger number of total cloves for the ~40 varieties as we have planted in the past. The decrease in total number and varieties planted was a very difficult decision based on the anticipated needs and capacity for the work required.)

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

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.

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 
Pleasing, rich garlic flavor. Tight, light colored wrappers over fat round outer cloves. Good for braiding. 8-12 cloves/bulb. Keeps 6-9 months. This was our BEST artichoke subtype for the markets in 2015, with uniform medium-large, tight and clean heads, plus a rich flavor.

Lorz Italian  Artichoke 
One of only three garlic heirloom varieties designated by Slow Food USA for their “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.

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

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! Our 2015 crop for this variety had predominantly very large heads, but the 2016 crop is back to the small-medium size heads.

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

Bogatyr  Marbled Purple Stripe                                                                 A hardneck variety found in Moscow. Reputed to be one of the spiciest garlics with 5-7 large cloves/bulb, although the heat does not last long so it can be used in raw dishes. So far, in our soil this garlic variety has not lived up to the spicy+ fan-fare, but each year the head size has become larger! Stores 7-8 months, which is long for a hardneck garlic variety, so that is a big plus in favor of this variety.

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 – no seed stock available
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.

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

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

German Red  Rocambole 
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.

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.

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. The most recent addition to the very select group of only three garlic varieties chosen by Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste Program.

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.

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 soft necks – no seed stock available
A mixture of our multiple silverskin and artichoke soft neck garlic varieties that we have traditionally grown in a medley for braiding (including many varieties that we no longer grow individually!).

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. Its scapes develop interesting and beautiful flower heads, which is why we grow this variety of leek (we weave the flowers into the natural farm-grown decorations on our garlic braids). Elephant garlic is a very long ‘keeper’ on our pantry shelf.

**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. 🙂

To whet your appetite, here is the one new variety we ordered early in 2016 that we planted in the Fall 2016, which will then formally audition for us with its first harvest in 2017. It was ordered from Filaree Farms in Washington State, a certified organic grower that we have successfully used for organic garlic seed stock in the past. 

  • Rose de Lautrec (Creole subtype) – yes yes yes – this is it! The famous French “pink garlic” that so many of our customers have asked us about. We are very excited to finally find a US-grown organic stock that we can try on our farm! Orders were limited to just 1/2# for this variety from Filaree Farm. I hope it is not so delicious that we eat it all ourselves after we save seed stock from the first 2017 harvest. 🙂

Varieties listed below auditioned for us for several years but were not replanted for future harvest and marketing based on disappointments with their growth in our location, OR we sold them to other local small farmers when we downsized in the Fall of 2016. We sell only the best and thus, also only plant the best. We have none of the following varieties to sell. 

Kettle River Giant  Artichoke 

Red Toch  Artichoke 

Thermadrone  Artichoke                                                                            

Transylvanian  Artichoke      

Pescadero Red Creole

Purple Glazer  Glazed Purple Stripe

Brown Tempest  Marbled Purple Stripe 

Georgian Crystal  Porcelain

Persian Star Porcelain

Vostani  Porcelain 

Red Grain Purple Stripe

German Mountain  Rocambole 

Ontario Purple Trillium  Rocambole

Pitarelli Rocambole

Slovenian  Rocambole 

Nootka Rose Silverskin

S&H Silver  Silverskin

Sicilian Silver  Silverskin  

Blossom  Turban 

China Stripe  Turban

Lotus  Turban 

Red Janice Turban 

Shandong  Turban 

Shantung Purple  Turban 

Tzan  Turban 

Montana Carlos  Unspecified hardneck