At Creek’nTree we grow and sell award winning garlic! In August 2016, we won “Reserve Champion” at the Eastern Ontario Garlic Awards.
Truly, our garlic is great. We take great care at all stages: harvest, cleaning, curing, handling, sizing and selling. We love garlic and we know that it is delicate. If a bulb is bruised, bumped, nicked or dropped, it goes right in to our kitchen to be eaten. Every bulb sold and every clove planted has been handled carefully. And, the soil has been prepared for a number of years to ensure optimal growing conditions.
Over the years we have honed in on three favourites: Susan Delafield (Porcelain), Red Russian (Marbled Purple Stripe) and Sicilian (Artichoke).
Sicilian is a funky, beautiful garlic with creamy, white cloves. It is in the Artichoke family. Garlic in this family has several cloves that grow in layers resembling an artichoke. This one apparently comes from the Island of Sicily. I got my first bulb as a gift from my dad who bought it from The Cutting Veg in Toronto. It produces beautiful bulbs with several small to medium sized cloves that peel easily. It is a star keeper – storing even longer than Susan Delafied. I usually still have some when the scapes start coming in again the following June.
The Artichoke garlic is a soft neck variety that does not produce scapes. The cloves can be planted with roots up or down. According to http://www.filareefarm.com, artichoke varieties “perhaps contain the greatest diversity in flavor between strains, some are quite spicy and rich while others are the mildest of any strains”
Susie D is a Porcelain garlic that has a thick, tough skin that makes them excellent for storing. The heads are plump with just a few large, fat cloves.
Susan Delafield has been my favourite garlic since growing it on a larger scale in 2008. We bought our first bulb from Rob Wallbridge of Songberry Farm. It took some research to pin down it’s origin. For years, we called it Brook, after the street we lived on. It is a beautiful, big bulb that produces well each year. It is realiable and grows well in our climate.
Apparently it is more tolerant of wet conditions than most garlic varieties but it has been doing well in the more recent drought years including back in 2016 during the official “severe drought”. Susan Delafield is listed in the Seeds of Diversity Canada catalogue of heritage varieties. The cloves are large, crunchy and easy to peel. Mine store well at least until March and often until May of the following year.
According to Daves Garden, Porcelains are all full-flavored, generally running to musky hot and pungent in taste. It is very spicy when fresh with the taste becoming somewhat milder as it ages.
Red Russian is a Marbled Purple Stripe and a great garlic for selling and admiring. They produce large bulbs with at least 4 cloves, usually a few more. The cloves are generally all large in size. They don’t keep as long as the Porcelain nor Artichokes but you should still be admiring them well into the New Year if you keep them in an environment with stable temperature.
That said, if you are not gobbling up your Red Russian super fast, I suggest opening up the skins a little around the stalk, to allow air in. Their thick skins can trap moisture and lead to mold. If stored properly, they will keep 6 – 8 months.
Rasacreek Farm describes the taste of Red Russian as “hot but not a scorcher”.
Thank you to Boundary Garlic in Vancouver and Rasa Creek Farm in Nova Scotia for their wealth of garlic knowledge and experience as well as Filaree Farm and We Grow Garlic for their discerning garlic taste.