The official launch of the Australian Garlic Season was celebrated at multi-award winning root vegetable specialist Georgie’s Harvest on Saturday 6 December with a day dedicated to the pungent bulb. The community was invited to come along, meet the local growers; learn how it’s grown, cured, and harvested; taste a variety of different garlics; and watch garlic plaiting demonstrations.
Visitors dined on garlic themed dishes available from the Market restaurants: Claypots Evening Star, Koy, Simply Spanish and Paco y Lola; and discovered how garlic can be used in so many different ways and in so many different cuisines. Penny Woodward, author, organic gardener and garlic expert was present, signing and selling copies of her new book Garlic: An organic guide to knowing growing and using garlic described by gardening legend Peter Cundall as “The best book I have ever read anywhere in the world on garlic.”
With the Australian garlic season now in full swing, it’s timely to remind ourselves of the long road the farmers have taken since the introduction of cheap, bleached, imported garlic in the mid 1990’s. The introduction of this inferior garlic saw a massive decline in local production, evidenced by the Australian Garlic Industry Association membership dropping from 300 members, who were mainly growers, to just three. Many farmers moved out of garlic farming at the time as they could not compete with the flood of cheap imports.
Today, the Australian garlic industry is bouncing back, thanks to increased consumer demand and awareness for local Australian produce and paddock to plate eating, a love of fresh food, an increase in home cooking and a desire to reduce our food miles. Australians are spoilt for choice with local garlic available in red, white and purple; spicy and hot, mild and nutty, pungent and aromatic. Garlic is not just garlic anymore, it comes in different flavours and sizes, has different harvesting and storage times, and can be used for a variety of different dishes.
With special thanks to the Australian Garlic Industry Association.