Gourmet garlic farming is big business and a perfect way to earn cash. It is perfect for backyard nursery with growing demand for gourmet products. Garlic is seasonal and takes several months to grow however they are fairly easy to grow in different soil types or climatic conditions.
There is a huge market with about 3 billion pounds of garlic consumed worldwide. To leverage on the popularity a farmer needs to grow popular verities.
Why Start a Garlic Farm
Starting a garlic farm is fun, easy and requires small space. Planting gourmet garlic is highly rewarding, profitable and low cost investment. Did you know that a pound of Porcelain is sold for $16 per pound?
High quality fresh gourmet varieties are in huge demand. The farmer only needs to select popular verities common to the area. The plant is easy to grow however labor is moderately intensive because everything is done by hand.
What is Gourmet Garlic?
What is the difference between standard garlic and gourmet garlic? Gourmet garlic are full-bodied have savory flavor, slightly hot rich taste. The difference begins with the plant stock, clove section and soil type.
Cloves selected must be healthy, disease free firm and plum. Soil type is nutrient-rich, devoid of contaminants, well prepared, healthy and organic.
The cloves are planted by hand to minimize damage, given extra space (8 in apart). Appropriate spacing produces large cultivars than intensive culture.
It is important to apply regular weeding and avoid use of herbicides or pesticides. Harvesting is done by hand to minimize damage to the pricey bulbs. Cull diseased or damaged ones are carefully examine and disposed of. Next stage is cleaning, hand clipping, trimming with consideration to skin layer.
Things to Consider Growing Gourmet Garlic
- Choice of Bulb to plant
- Quality clove selection
- Plant selection
- Soil Preparation
Types of Garlic
Grouped into two main subspecies sativum (soft neck), ophioscorodon (hard neck) over 600 varieties exist. Softneck verities are Artichoke, silverskin while hardneck includes Porcelain, Creole, Asiatic, Glazed purple stripe.
Popular varieties are Purple Stripe, Rocambole, Porcelain, elephant garlic. Other include Artichoke, Creole and Silverskin varieties. Value added products made from garlic are garlic chutney, vinegars or pickled and some insecticides or repellants have garlic as an ingredient.
- Glazed purple stripe
- Purple Stripe
- Elephant garlic(not true garlic)
How to start gourmet garlic farming
Gardening Tool and soil type
Basic gardening tools are needed to grow garlic. Purchase a shovel, rake, hand gloves, digger, spade, garden knife and wheelbarrow. Soil type is fertile well drained loamy or health sandy loam on raised beds. Use organic fertilizer, compost and plant a pound of seed 10 square feet.
- Hand gloves
- Garden knife
The appearance, presentation, color and taste give positive impression. To attain premium price harvest disease free garlic, clean and cure before marketing. Other factors in marketing are personal appearance, good hygiene, location, type of garlic grown.
How to Market Garlic
Garlic is a popular herb consumed daily around the world. The gourmet herb is known to have many health benefits and are very tasty. America is the largest import market with over $300 million worth produced annually.
Gourmet garlic are sold in farmers markets, chefs, supermarkets, mail-order service, roadside stand and upscale restaurants. There are different types of garlic sold throughout the season. We have scrapes, green scallions, bulbs and garlic greens.
Bulbs are the traditional way of selling garlic because of their different appearance, flavors and colors. Garlic green are the leaves while scrapes size depends on the verity. They are harvested when plant is tender and curled.
Harvesting of scrapes involves rinsing, draining, bagging and refrigeration. Green scallion garlic have no bulb at base and are sold in banded bunch of 12 plants.
Give away or offer free samples is a tested marketing strategy.
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