A couple of months ago a member of my local foods group told us that she was buying garlic at a local farm stand when she thought to ask where the garlic was from.

“China,” was the farm stand worker’s response.

China? Chinese garlic at my local farm stand?

garlic harvest

The garlic harvest from Bumblebee garden

It turns out that two-thirds of the world’s garlic is produced in China. Frankly, given the toxic products I’ve been reading about from China—baby formula, dog food, dry wall—I think it’s a good idea to know where my products are coming from and avoid problems where I can.

That wasn’t my motivation for growing garlic, but it’s as good as any to add to what I already have growing this year—so I don’t have to buy Chinese garlic, especially garlic masquerading as local foods at my local farm stand.

Last fall I planted six varieties of garlic on October 26. I know the date because I noted it in my Lee Valley 10-Year Garden Journal. I planted Kettle River Giant, German White, Chesnok Red, Transylvanian, Music Pink and Applegate.  When I harvested the garlic the German White was the largest and, it turns out, the most flavorful in our salads. The Chesnok Red and Music Pink were the most puny and some were a bit bitter.

I have put aside more of the German White to go into the ground after reading about where most of our garlic comes from.

garlic in the garden

The garlic in May starts to turn yellowish. Garlic is harvestested when about two-thirds of the tops have died back.

I haven’t read about there being any problems with Chinese garlic. But I’ve read about enough problems with our food supply that I’m convinced the more food I can raise right here at Bumblebee, where I am the caretaker and I take care, the better off my family and I are.  It’s a matter of health, but it’s also a matter of principle.

It turns out it tastes pretty good too.

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12 Comments

  • Thanksgiving is a pefect day to plant more garlic in the Mid-Atlantic AND you get to know what soil and additives ent into growing it!

  • Carol says:

    That’s just wrong to sell garlic from China at a local farmers’ market. Buyer beware! It pays to ask questions.
    .-= Carol´s last blog ..Thankful for GARDENING =-.

  • whit says:

    Did you know growing your own garlic year after year will produce a flavour of garlic all your own? It takes a couple years of seed saving. It’s like wine grapes. Depending on your conditions, your German White grown in your yard could taste completely different than German White grown in my yard.

    Just another inspiring reason to plant some garlic!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Tatyana says:

    Garlic from China? I thought you were kidding!
    .-= Tatyana´s last blog ..Images For You, 160 names and The Last Award =-.

  • David says:

    Homegrown garlic is so easy, and requires no jet fuel or diesel to get it to your kitchen. I’d get word of the sourcing on that garlic to the people who run your farmer’s market. Destroying the confidence of those who buy from a farmer’s market, their belief that the goods they buy there will have been grown locally and safely . . . well, that would be the beginning of the end if not dealt with. I’m sure they’d want to know.

  • Rick says:

    I have to agree with David. The major requirement to hold a sellers license at our local farmer’s market is that the farmer actually grew it! We had a very large seller expelled last year when it was learned he was actually going to truck patch to truck patch and purchasing stock and then reselling it as his own. I would want to know it was an imported product.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Gail says:

    Robin, That is such bad news! I never thought about garlic Not being grown in the US. gail …and, what about the chickens? How are they?

  • Robin says:

    I try to avoid food from China for the same reasons. Usually I check my produce to see where it comes from but I don’t remember looking at the garlic I buy in bulk from Sam’s Club. You have me curious now.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving! =-.

  • Produce from China at the local farm stand is a very disturbing development. I love garlic & have grown it, but I messed up with it this year, as I planted it in the spring, then ended up doing soil work in the bed where they were planted and then I never got them back in the ground. After your warning, I’m really kicking myself.
    .-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..Mason Jar Photography =-.

  • Cindee Eichengreen says:

    I plant garlic in many of my flower beds for various reasons and harvest them all. I plant Polish Softneck Garlic in with my roses to keep the aphids away. After harvest we braid it for the kitchen. And I plant Elephant Garlic in the Children’s Garden because they are fascinated with it.

  • Frances says:

    This is just wrong on many levels! Garlic at a farmer’s market should at least by from the same continent, if not local! Garlic is so easy to grow too. We accidentally ordered Music, a hard neck variety when we are supposed to plant soft neck here in the south. Hope it does better than your puny pink, but the Red Inchelium softneck has been the one we save for the next season with good results. We like to braid ours as well, it looks pretty in the kitchen.
    Frances
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..After Thanksgiving 2009 Muse Day* =-.

  • Shannon says:

    Ru-ro! Chinese garlic? A gardening show was featured the huge producer of garlic in the town of Gilroy,CA. A rule of thumb taught is if the roots of the garlic being purchased is stubby or looks cut off to the bulb it is from china; it was also mentioned that China sells a huge amount of garlic is sold in the USA. Now if the roots are long it most likely is from Gilroy.

    Just a side note….please encourage your friend to notify the owners of the farmers market that this junk is being sold. With farmers markets becoming so popular they run the risk of loosing the purity that is drawing people to them in the first place.

    Oh, one more thing….love your blog:)

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