FRESH garlic is more than a crop for Brian and Helen Woodstock, it is also a tool to help educate people in what buying local truly means.
This is validation you can get good quality garlic chemical-free.Harmony Garlic's Brian Woodstock
They view top nods in this year’s Australian Food Awards as recognition what they are doing works – good quality garlic, planted and harvested by hand as naturally as possible.
In a market dominated by imports, predominantly from China, the Gordon-based Harmony Garlic promotes tasting the difference.
Harmony Garlic captured a gold medal for their printanor (silver skin) garlic and a silver for their Italian purple.
“These are the first awards we’ve entered because in the past, we’ve just done what we’ve done,” Mr Woodstock said. “This is validation you can get good quality garlic chemical-free.”
Australian demand for homegrown garlic is continuing on the rise, yet only 20 per cent of garlic consumed in Australia is grown in Australia, mostly in Victoria.
Harmony Garlic’s garlic and garlic products are predominantly sold via farmers’ markets across the state. Mr Woodstock said the growing popularity in farmers’ markets highlighted how people were becoming more discerning about their product and exactly where their food comes from.
And more discerning customers were becoming more interested in diverse variety.
There is a distinct difference between Harmony Garlic’s award-winners. The printanor was slightly more subtle and good for complementing other flavours in dishes like roast chicken, or aioli or pesto. The Italian purple is bold, a pungent boost for bolognese.
Harmony Garlic adapts different varieties to best suit their evolving range of garlic product, including smoked garlic, crushed garlic, pickled garlic, seasonings, salt and oils.
While the company is looking to expand into retail and food services, Mr Woodstock said keeping the natural focus was vital.
Spring Creek Organics in Navigators is also working to expand its work in educating consumers about organic, fresh produce. The farm will open for its second corn-picking day, building on the success of a trial a fortnight ago. This Sunday’s offering will also include tomato-picking, providing another way for people to learn about and enjoy produce.
Most Australian Food Awards are judged later in the year, but the garlic awards are judged to ensure tastings are made in-season.