The garlic farm

We have been growing garlic here at Jembaicumbene near Braidwood for 20 years. Gilles farms with organic methods - no chemicals, pesticide free, using compost and natural minerals for biological soil balancing.  The climate in the Southern Tablelands is cold in winter and hot and dry in summer which is ideal for garlic.

Gilles' methods are highly physical, although he does have a tractor to prepare the soil. Green manure crops and compost are ploughed in then the garlic is planted, mulched, weeded and harvested by hand.

In early November, Gilles harvests the once a year treat of green garlic shoots. By late November, fresh garlic scapes (the inner stalk of the purple garlic) as well as fresh juicy new garlic, are ready at the North Sydney Markets. (See market dates)                    


During November the garlic crop is harvested. The roots are cut and the outer layers peeled. In December, the garlic is fully matured and ready for sale and plaiting. Garlic is plaited using its own stalks. It looks fantastic and being on its own stalks, it keeps extra well. Plaits and loose garlic are sold  at North Sydney Produce market. (See market dates)  

About our garlic:

For years our stock was grown from one bulb, given to us by Steve – so we called it Steve’s garlic. It appears that its correct name is Australian Purple Hard Neck. Hard neck/Rocambole varieties of garlic have a scape or inner stalk which can be eaten fresh when young. The stalks make a head of bulbils (tiny bulbs) which can also be eaten when fresh, or can be planted to produce tiny garlic.

The garlic has up to 12 large cloves which are easy to peel. The taste and texture are out of this world – crunchy and rich! The full bodied garlic flavour is spicy and hot if eaten raw and milder if cooked. What’s more, you can eat a whole roasted head and not smell!

If you want to know more about our farm, you may be able to find  "Love's Harvest", Brian McKenzie's lovely documentary about us and other small growers.