Garlic Horticultural Groups
Turban: The earliest to mature but with a short dormancy, Turbans are highly adaptable to different climates. They have a simple earthy flavor but low pungency that doesn’t linger. Turbans have floppy leaves that are well suited to garlic greens pesto. The bulbs have outstanding purple blotching on the outer wrapper with 8-12 rounded pink cloves.
Asiatic garlics developed as it migrated east along the Silk Road from Central Asia, through China and out to the Korean Peninsula. These cultivars are distinguishable more for their characteristics as plants than bulbs: they all have a distinctive umbel and lengthy beak. Beyond that there is wide variation within this group both in other morphological characteristics as well as flavor: some are scorchingly hot with a bright flavor that compliments stir-fries and salad dressings, others have mild complex flavors best savored raw.
Artichoke: So named due to their overlapping layers of cloves with no central stem which makes them suitable for braiding. Easy to grow, the plants are broad leaved with a sprawling growth habit and are readily adaptable. The bulbs are round and can get quite large. Artichoke garlics generally have a simple, yet distinctive fresh green flavor and are generally mild in heat. They are good general purpose garlic and may store up to 9-10 months.
Glazed garlics have large bulbs with 10-12 squat cloves covered by thin satiny skins with vibrant bulb wrappers of varying purple hues. The plants are tall with blue green vertical leaves and tightly coiled slender scapes. Oily and rich, they have a darker flavor with a moderate heat. Thin peels make Glazed garlics susceptible to dehydration but they are tolerant of higher humidity in storage.
Creole varieties originate in the region encompassing Euzkadi (the Basque Country) Northeastern Spain and Southwestern France. They readily adapt to warmer climates and can be finicky growers in chilly winter climes but are well worth the extra attention. Creoles have white outer bulb wrappers; beneath lies red wrappers and deep crimson clove skins. They have exceptional complex flavor: spicy and sweet. They are also have an outstanding storage capacity, up to 12 months.
Porcelain garlics come by way of the Caucasus Mountain range, a region stretching between the Black and Caspian Seas. Towering plants with broad leaves the scapes form wide loops rather than coils. The bulbs have white wrappers enclosing 5-7 large Brazil nut shaped tannish-pink cloves with red streaks. They are very hot and sulfurous raw lending well to salsas and spicy foods. They are also exceptional when baked, exuding a nutty flavor. Porcelains are thought to have the highest allicin content of any of the horticultural groups. Late to mature, they may store 6-8 months.
Rocambole: Charismatic stocky plants have broad closely spaced dark green leaves and scapes that form tight coils. Clove count of bulbs is variable but double are frequent in most cultivars. The are easy to peel and consequently poor keepers. This makes them a seasonal treat as they have rich, well rounded, sweet, moderately spicy outstanding flavor which is enhanced by cold winter temperatures.
Purple Stripe garlics are ancestral to all other domesticated garlic clones and originate in Central Asia. Late maturing plants have light green, slender yet rigid leaves. The bulbs have white outer wrappers enclosing 8-12 elongated crescent shaped cloves with vivid purple and red coloration. They have intense and complex flavor raw and are splendid roasted. They store well in low humidity.
Marbled garlic plants are tall, have wide curvaceous leaves and stout scapes that are ideal for grilling. Bulbs have dark purple mottling and 5-7 squat, fat, tannish cloves. Some varieties can be eye wateringly hot and sulfurous but with a darker flavor profile. Most are late maturing and store about 6 months.
Silverskin: These are the most productive weight planted to weight yielded. While they can bolt when stressed by cold weather, they generally don’t, making them suitable for braiding. Silverskins, with their tight clove skins can be difficult to peel, this contributes to their exceptionally long storage capacity: 12 months or longer in ideal conditions. They have a straight across simple flavor, up front sulfurous bite and lingering pungency.
Wild Garlics are those that were collected in their center of origin: Central Asia, by various individuals, often from tiny bulbs or bulbils. They tend to be vigorous, perhaps due to the fact that they haven’t been in domesticity long enough to accrue viruses that imbue long cultivated varieties. Some may fit into existing horticultural groupings, others not at all. Several of these are highly fertile making fine progenitors for new varieties.
Unclassified garlics are unusual cultivated varieties whose morphology as plants and bulbs do not accord with any of the horticultural groups. These outliers are of particular interest as they are indicative of greater diversity in A. sativum. Some are curiosities that have desirable traits that may yield better in other latitudes and climates; others are productive varieties that are just a little different. Some of the wild and true seed progeny also defy categorization.
True Seed Progeny: After six thousand years of asexual propagation, most domesticated garlic cultivars are infertile. These offerings are the products of sexual reproduction of both wild and a small handful of domesticated garlic clones that are fertile. Grown out from True Garlic Seed (TGS) they are then vegetatively propagated for several seasons to build up enough stock to present here. Some of these may fit squarely into some of the above horticultural grouping, others not so much.
Polish White Artichoke as well as Mt St. Helens and Silver Rose Silverskins: $12 per half pound, $18 per pound
All other garlic varieties: $14 per half pound, $20 per pound
1/4 lb. samples for all varieties are $8 Note that ¼ lb samples will generally include smaller bulbs.
Bulk Prices: varieties marked with * are available for bulk quantity discounts. 10-20 lbs. 10% off, 20-40 lbs. $15% off.