WILD GARLICS are those that were collected in their center of origin, Central Asia, by various individuals, often from tiny bulbs or bulbils. Brought back, they’ve been grown out at the USDA’s Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, WA. While these have been classed as A. longicuspis, there is no genetic distinction between garlics collected in the wild and those that have been long domesticated. For the most part, these accessions do not classify into the above groupings. Some are capable of producing true seed, others not. They all 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. Wild garlics are $8 per ¼ lb; $14 per ½ lb; $20 per lb.
Arpakalen (W6 24414) Collected from the wild near Arpakalen, Turkmenistan by Richard Hannon, this garlic has 5-8 elongated large cloves in irregularly shaped bulbs with dark purple striped wrappers. The stem is sometimes strangely coiled inside the bulbs. The plants are quite tall with blue-green leaves. Arpakalen matures early-mid season along with the Artichokes. Turkmenistan, roughly the size of California, is mostly desert. Coming from such arid origins, this is a vigorous strain indeed. It is mild in pungency and peels easily, thus is susceptible to desiccation. 2 lb. limit
Chimyan (W6 46684) ❧ (transliterations of the name vary) was collected from the wild by Barbara Hellier and Phillip Simon near Chimyan Mountain in the Western Tien Shan Range in Uzbekistan. This outstanding strain features tall, vigorous plants with broad dark green leaves matures mid-late season. Bulbs appear Marbled with 4-7 large cloves with a deep, rich, earthy flavor. If one is interested in trying one’s hand at growing garlic out to true seed, Chimyan would be the one to start with. It is the most prolific producer of true seed we have trialled and several of it’s offspring are currently being grown out.
Gadym Sarymsak (W6 24371) means “ancient garlic” in Turkmen (a Turkic language) It was collected from a dry river bed Turkmenistan, also by Richard Hannon. Tall plants with broad leaves and sprawling growth habit. This is the first variety to scape and it matures early. Irregularly shaped bulbs can get large and, like Arpakalen, some bulbs have coiled stems inside. It is easy to peel and has a mild vegetative flavor. ¼ lb. limit
Kishlyk (W6 46687) ❧ Collected from the wild near Kishlyk, in southern Kashkadarya (Qashqadaryo) region of Uzbekistan. Large bulbs appear Purple Stripe with the characteristic crescent shaped cloves and purple coloration, though not as uniformly round; the plants are taller as well, with darker green leaves and quite vigorous. This is an outstanding strain and the most productive bolting garlic we grow. Towards maturity, the fibrous leaves tend to splay out. It has a splendid complex flavor with moderate pungency. It’s has excellent storage, holding into the following spring. Bulk available
Pskem: collected from the wild in the Pskem River Valley in eastern Uzbekistan, this is a sharp flavored garlic with 4-6 plump, purple, elongated cloves.
Punuk (W6 27971) ❧ collected in a field near the village of Punuk, in NW Tajikistan, medium-large bulbs with 6-7 plump purple cloves. Complex flavor that starts sweet and builds to bright fiery finish. It has been a prolific producer of true seed. 2 lb. limit
Shavat (W6 48168) ❧ collected in a pasture between the villages of Rovakom and Saro, in the Sughd Province of NW Tajikistan. Tight richly colored purple wrappers surround 6-9 cloves. Raw it’s assertive, the heat builds fast then fades; when lightly sautéed it’s bright flavor retains a sharpness. Of the wild garlics, this fits closest to the Purple Stripe group. 1/2 lb. limit
Jaxartes (W6 48169) ❧ This is also from fields surrounding the village of Punuk from northernmost Tajikistan near the Syr Darya river. The earliest known name for the longest river in Central Asia was Jaxartes, from the ancient Greeks. This once great river originates in the Tien Shan mountains and drains into what remains of the Aral Sea. One can imagine traders traveling the length (over 1,300 miles) of the river with, amongst other items, garlic, bringing it to lands far beyond its wild roots. Since the Soviet Era, the Syr Darya river has been diverted for agriculture, predominantly cotton, which resulted in turning what was once the 4th largest inland ocean into a dried up dust bowl. Windstorms laden with salt and toxic pesticide residues have resulted in endemic respiratory illnesses throughout that region and incalculable losses of flora and fauna. The garlic is immense. The plants tower over others, maturing very late in the season. The bulbs containing 6-8 cloves, are very large indeed and the flavor is hot and sulfurous when raw but makes for a nice nutty baking bulb.