GORDON garlic farmer Brian Woodstock finds people at farmers’ markets are becoming more and more discerning about produce. But Mr Woodstock is passionate about educating people about what local truly means.
Australian demand for homegrown garlic is on the rise, yet only 20 per cent of garlic consumed in Australia is grown in Australia, mostly in Victoria.
Harvest is now complete and the official garlic season opened this week with a renewed push from the state government to buy local, knowing the Victorian horticulture industry has a reputation for premium quality, safe and clean product.
“The thing about Australian garlic, and the reason my garlic is quite flavoursome, is that it’s all a natural process. I don’t use any chemicals...When it comes in from overseas, it’s often grown in all sorts of stuff and ends up in a shipping container for weeks, then fumigated in Australia,” Mr Woodstock said.
“This is why Australian garlic is so popular in Asia, for the way it’s grown. If you pay a little more and get good quality and good flavour, it’s going to be better value.”
Growing Australian demand for homegrown garlic is also creating a stronger appetite for diversity in variety.
Walking through the Harmony Garlic sheds, you can see and taste the difference in what Mr Woodstock and partner Helen Garvey have grown. And sometimes the smaller bulbs can pack the greatest flavour punch.
They have a commercial kitchen on site for an evolving range of garlic product, including smoked garlic, crushed garlic, pickled garlic, seasonings, salt and oils.
This week Harmony Garlic will debut its new garlic and chilli salt at market.
Mr Woodstock said today’s society tended to be too focused on convenience – including when it came to quickly purchasing garlic in processed forms.
He urged people to source more locally and to become more educated about exactly what you are consuming.
“What I tell people is that I’m passionate about garlic and I’m passionate about Australian produce,” Mr Woodstock said. “I look at something and I want to know what’s in it and understand what’s in it if I read the label. I would love to do more in educating people about Australian food.”