Garlic is a member of the lily family and can be divided into two subspecies: Allium ophioscorodon (bolting or hardneck cultivars), and Allium sativvum (non-bolting or softneck cultivars).
Hardneck cultivars (which is what we grow) do best in colder climates and produce elongated stamen (flowering stalk) that produce a scape at the top of the plant. The growing season for hardneck garlic is nine months. Hardneck garlic is the choice of many garlic lovers. The cloves are easier to peel and has more flavor than softneck garlic.
Softneck cultivars are grown in warmer climates and do not produce a scape. This is the common variety found in most supermarkets, and is most likely imported from Asia (China) and other parts of the world.
Green garlic is immature garlic and looks similar to a scallion or green onion. Green garlic is the first harvest.
Scapes, which are the tops of the garlic plant, are the second harvest in June and ready for your culinary use. The garlic bulb is harvested in July and ready for consumption. The cloves of this variety are larger and easier to peel. This variety has a long storage life.
Garlic is the second most widely consumed allium (onions being the first). It is consumed all over the world. Garlic can be succesfully grown within a wide range of climates, but it does best where it receives some rainfall, dry sunny summers and moderate winters.
There are many cultivars of garlic. As one might question, an apple is an apple, right? Yes, but just as in garlic, there are many varieties available as well. A Granny Smith apple tastes and looks different than a McIntosh or Red Delicious. So is true with garlic varieties. Each cultivar has different characteristics, shelf life and taste. Some of the horticultural groups of garlic include:
Artichoke, Asiatic, Creole, Glazed Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Middle Eastern, porcelain, purple Stripe, Rocambole, Silverskin & Turban.
We grow a variety from the purple stripe group. We call our garlic "Northern Jewel".
Garlic was found in several Egyptian tombs, dating as far back as 1352BC. A bundle of hard-neck garlic and scapes were also found in a tomb from the 18th Egyptian dynasty, some 3500 years ago.
"Gar leek", derived from Anglo-Saxon meaning 'spear leek" was the original English name.
Garlic is mentioned in the Bible and Qur'an.
There is some evidence that human trading of garlic may have occured not long after the last ice age.
Garlic was part of the diet of Hebrew slaves that built the pyramids.
The Spanish brought garlic to North America.
"Russian penicillin" was the nick-name for garlic during both World Wars, because of its use in treating infections, particularly gangrene.
Many diseases were treated with garlic by Albert Schweitzer.