Garlic Variety Descriptions

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 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). 

40 Varieties Grown in 2015 including our Braiding Garlic

2015 availability – EVERYTHING IS SOLD OUT (i.e., nothing available at the farm, nothing). The small amount of our garlic that is still available at either Argus Farm Stop or Busch’s Green Rd. location – both in Ann Arbor – is listed below. Updated Tuesday 11/24/15.

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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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)  – UPDATE – a basket is available at Argus Farm Stop!! 
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!) – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

Kettle River Giant  Artichoke – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 (auditioned for us first in 2012) – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – No longer available – did not consistently grow well for us
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, so we were sorry to put this variety in the “also-ran” category after 2015. Maybe it will grow well for you.

Thermadrone  Artichoke – SOLD OUT FOR 2015 – 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.

Transylvanian  Artichoke – SOLD OUT FOR 2015 – 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

Creole Red  Creole – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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, the largest we have ever grown for this variety with no diminishment of flavor!

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 – Auditioning for us since 2013  – SOLD OUT FOR 2015                                                       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. Maybe next year! Stores 7-8 months, which is long for a hardneck garlic variety, so that is a plus in favor of this variety.

Chesnok Red  Purple Stripe – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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!) – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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

Georgian Crystal  Porcelain (Auditioned variety that made the cut) SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015 
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 SOLD OUT FOR 2015
Found at a booth at the Saugerties, NY garlic festival. Packs some heat but finishes mild and almost sweet. Caramelizes well. A favorite!

Vostani  Porcelain (an auditioned variety that made the cut) SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

German Mountain  Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut) – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
Spicy (even spicier than Killarney Red in 2014 to our tastes!), easy to peel cloves from nice plump bulbs, even on small heads. Stores 3-5 months. Averages 8 cloves per bulb.

German Red  Rocambole (Auditioned variety that made the cut) SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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) – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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) SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 and sells quickly.

Spanish Roja  Rocambole – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

S&H Silver  Silverskin – SOLD OUT FOR 2015                                                                                                                         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  No longer available – did not consistently grow well for us
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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 – remaining braids are available only at Argus Farm Stop (when they are gone, they are gone)
A mixture of our multiple silverskin and artichoke soft neck garlic varieties that we have traditionally grown in a medley 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!

Blossom  Turban – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

China Stripe  Turban SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

Lotus  Turban – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
This one retains some heat baked. Raw, the hotness stays with you.  Originally from a market in SE China.

Red Janice  Asiastic Turban  SOLD OUT FOR 2015                                                           Auditioning for us since 2013. 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.

Shandong  Turban – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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).

Shantung Purple  Turban – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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.

Tzan  Turban – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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>

Montana Carlos  Unspecified hardneck – SOLD OUT FOR 2015 – and will not be replanted for 2016
Hot start that mellows out. Good in soups and mashed potatoes.

Elephant  Bulbing Leek – SOLD OUT FOR 2015
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, which is actually the reason 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. :)

Varieties listed below auditioned for us for several years but have not been replanted for future harvest and marketing. We sell only the best and thus, also only plant the best. We have none of these varieties to sell. 

Nootka Rose (Silverskin)

Pescadero Red (Creole)

Pitarelli (Rocambole)

Red Grain (Purple Stripe)

Persian Star (Porcelain)

Sicilian Silver

Red Toch

Montana Carlos