STALLHOLDER OF THE MONTH: FRESHWATER CREEK GARLIC

STALLHOLDER OF THE MONTH: FRESHWATER CREEK GARLIC

Freshwater Creek Organic Garlic

Taste the difference

The Golden Plains Farmers' Market loves being able to offer patrons farm-fresh organic garlic thanks to garlic-growing experts, Freshwater Creek Garlic (FCG).

Established in 2010, FCG is a family-owned garlic farm near Torquay, managed by owners John and Sarah Olliff, who are now known for producing award-winning certified-organic garlic.

One of the best things about FCG is the fact its garlic is certified-organic; Sarah and John are seriously committed to quality. In fact, as soon as their interest in growing garlic became a passion and business, employing organic practices was on top of the list. The pair then set out to formally become a certified-organic farm.

John said, “Our whole farming process, the soil and garlic produce are rigorously audited and are 100% organic to the Australian Organic Certification Standards."

John and Sarah love looking after their land and creating a sustainable, healthy growing environment for their garlic and this is just one of the reasons we love FCG. The fact their garlic is delicious, makes us love the product even more.

HOW TO GROW GARLIC

FCG's Sarah Oliff provides her top tips on how to grow great garlic

It's garlic planting season! There's nothing quite like growing your own delicious garlic; harvesting and hanging the plaits in your kitchen, ready for when you need that magic ingredient.

You can plant Freshwater Creek Garlic anytime now and onwards through May and into early June. Garlic is a winter/spring crop and is harvested in late November or early December. Traditionally, garlic is planted on the shortest day and harvested on the longest day of the year. But every garlic variety suits a different climate so it is important to grow the right variety. Our garlic, Italian Late, is very suited to this region. It has a good robust flavour and stores well through to September each year.

Garlic loves full sun and a raised garden bed (as it doesn't like its roots being waterlogged). The soil should be prepared with lots of organic matter and be close to Neutral pH.

Break open a bulb and chose the biggest fattest cloves to plant, (and eat the rest!). Plant 15cm apart, pointy end upwards, about 2cm down. Mulch with pea straw or weed mat or whatever you have handy.

Keep the soil watered (but not too wet) if there is not enough rain. You could feed the garlic with a liquid fertilizer two or three times before September. Garlic needs to be kept weed-free and be well-fed to get the best size garlic. The garlic grows its roots first, then puts up shoots. The stem begins to thicken, looking a bit like a leek, and in the final two months the bulbs begin to swell, with the clove separation happening in the last few weeks.

Don’t water the garlic in the last two to three weeks and the plant will start to dry off at the top. Carefully dig down with your hands (without disturbing the roots) to inspect the progress of the bulb in mid-late November, and monitor the growth until you can see the cloves have separated (re-cover each time with the soil). The top half of the leaves might look very dry and be falling over. When the cloves have separated, dig under the bulb and lift with a fork or spade. If you leave them too long, the outer skin may begin to split.

Once the garlic is out of the ground, tie up in small bunches (or trim and place on racks) in the shade on the veranda or the shed to dry. Ensure there is lots of air circulating to allow curing of the outer skins for four to six weeks. This will ensure your garlic will store well through to September or later.

If you are keen to plait your garlic, leave it to dry with the stalks on for two to three weeks, then tidy up the roots and brush off any dirt and then plait. Allow to fully cure for another two to three weeks.

Click here to find a range of garlic-growing, cooking and storage tips and more! You can find out more about Freshwater Creek Garlic on the link buttons below. 

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