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Old June 28, 2018   #61
PureHarvest
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Do you spring plant it?
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Old June 28, 2018   #62
meganp
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Thanks for the info Megan.
Would you say they are at least equal to or better than the Chinese/California white softnecks in the grocery store?
Where did you get your original seed cloves?
Hello again. The Chinese garlic that is sold in NZ are predominantly white bulbed silverskins, have not seen any other varieties. They tend to be relatively small bulbs and haven't knowingly ever used any nor actually purchased any so can't judge - we have good domestically grown garlic if I have to purchase any and been growing my own for the last 10 years or more. We do import US garlic and the California whites that I've seen appear to be artichokes which seem to be closely related to turbans although the artichokes store a bit longer. Flavour wise, the artichokes retain their heat more than the turbans that I grow and the turbans have larger bulbs and the clove configuration is more symmetrical. There are usually only 7 visible outer cloves with 3 or 4 inner layer of cloves in the turbans. The outer cloves are fat rounded wedges whereas the artichoke cloves are more flattened moon/crescent shaped. I was given a couple of turban bulbs years back and I have always allowed the scapes to mature (at least the ones that don't get eaten) and been growing out the bulbils ever since.
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Old June 28, 2018   #63
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Congratulations on a great harvest! And thanks for posting those pics, too. I love how you've developed "the right tool for the job" to facilitate ease of harvest.

Your garlic racks are super and I need to build one of my own for both garlic and onions.
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Old June 28, 2018   #64
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Do you spring plant it?
No, I plant all of my garlic in the fall.
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Old June 28, 2018   #65
PureHarvest
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Thanks GoDawgs.
We ripped 2x4's to build the frames.
4 pieces to make the rectangle 2'x6' with a 2' piece in the middle for support.

frame.jpg

Stapled 1" chicken wire on top. We built 25 of them, so glad my dad had a staple gun that is powered by an air compressor for that step.

Last edited by PureHarvest; June 28, 2018 at 10:01 AM.
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Old July 3, 2018   #66
bower
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I found a turban at the supermarket the other day and I bought it to try. It was billed as "fresh garlic" at 4.99/lb, with conspicuous purple stripes and a hardneck stem.

I used it to make chinese food and it didn't add anything to the taste when cooked. Then I grated some up with a rasp into some sour cream and used as a dip for potato chips... quite a strong garlic taste but very different - sort of a low burn with no high notes - but then I got the aftertaste, and wow did it ever linger. It was not really pleasant to me although I love garlic. It was like the breathmint of garlics only not in a really nice way.
I had thought I might try growing some turban but I probably won't, as the taste wasn't great for me and I didn't enjoy the taste developing after I finished eating.

Today I went through my stash of 'getting old' garlic, and found a small bulb that was still very hard. Put the whole thing through a rasp, used half for salad dressing and half mixed with some evoo and rosemary to season cream cheese stuffed toutons. It was a Spanish Roja, and the flavor came through in those quick fried breads really well... a great tasting garlic. Even though they are not billed as long keepers, it seems an immature bulb can keep very well, and seems to be true of other garlics I have grown as well, that they keep better if harvested before full size.
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Old July 16, 2018   #67
PureHarvest
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Had my first sale yesterday to the produce stand down the road from us.
Sold her the 10lb retail box that I came up with.
It's a glossy cardboard box from Uline. Cost me 6 bucks but is reusable. My marketing buddy made the sign.
She sold 5 bulbs before we got done talking.
It's great because she is taking all what I call small bulbs in my head. USDA calls them large I think, which is funny. Anyway, they are all around 1 and 5/8 to 1.75" diameter.
There's 125 bulbs in the 10 lbs.

Retail Garlic Sign.JPG

10 lb garlic box.JPG

Not planning on doing a lot of these, but she is right down the road and I can get rid of my smaller bulbs with her. The majority of my stuff will go to the big CSA buyer.

I'm taking 80 pounds (800 bulbs) to the CSA buyer tonight. 1.75-2" diameter bulbs.
He's also taking a 10lb retail ready box for his store, but it'll be the bigger bulbs in his box.

What a joy and relief to see the process come full circle.

I have some plans and cool stuff I'm doing for 2019 to save time, improve production, reduce physical labor, expand, and get earliness. I will start a new thread in a few weeks.
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Old July 16, 2018   #68
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Very nice presentation with the sign and retail ready box! And great looking garlic. Congrats on the success of your scale-up adventure!
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Old July 16, 2018   #69
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Ya! Congrats! Very well done!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #70
greenthumbomaha
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Are you staying with the same varieties this year, ph? You mentioned replacing flowers with additional garlic for a better return on time and money. There are so many varieties to try, but I speak as a gardener and not a producer. Are your clients satisfied with continuity or do they want a new wow factor?

- Lisa
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #71
PureHarvest
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First off let me say I sold everything in about 3 weeks to my main buyer. They have a 400 member CSA and 2 retail stores. When I made my last delivery at the end of July, he called me about 10 days later to ask if I changed my mind about selling off some of the seed stock I was saving for this year. I had to decline so I can expand this year.
I also supply a mom and pop produce stand about 3 miles from me. They move about 10lbs every 10-14 days. I move my smaller bulbs (1.5" and slightly bigger) to them for .50 each (usually 12 bulbs per pound, so $6/lb), so it works good for both of us. She says her customers ask for it starting in June based on what they bought from last year when I supplied them.
As far as I would guess, based on the sales, everyone is really liking the garlic. My mom and a good friend, who are both avid home chefs, say it is the best. Probably some bias, but they are pretty straight shooters.
As far as varieties, I think as long as the product has purple streaks in it (and it tastes "really good"), the public equates that with it being different and special. Gourmet chefs are not the ultimate buyer, so I'd rather sell a variety with lots of purple vs a solid white so that it looks different than the all white softnecks they see in the store.
I am saving about 100 lbs of Music, 140 lbs German Extra Hardy, and 25 lbs of Romanian Red.
I bought 60 lbs of Chesnok Red for $13/lb to try something new that is not a Porcelain type.
When you get beyond niche or hobby level, in my opinion, giving the wholesale customer too many choices is counterproductive. Pick the small handfull that works best, and move volume. It would be a hassle for them to have to make space for multiple retail boxes and manage inventory for each type.
Eventually I will probably evaluate the 4 that I am growing and eliminate 1 to simplify the seed saving aspect.
Production-wise, I intend on planting 3 caterpillar tunnels (14'x100'), one each of Music, German, and Chesnok. The rest will go in the field.
I am gonna do 4- three foot wide beds in the tunnels. 3 rows per bed, so there will be about 1,600 plants in each tunnel.
Outdoors I grow in 3' wide beds that are 200' long, so each tunnel would be like me adding 2 beds outside.
Last year, I had 8 beds outside at 200' long.
This year it will probably be 10. So adding the 3 tunnels is like adding 6 new 200' beds outside.
So in total, I'm going from 8- 200' beds this year to about 16 beds next year. My hope is to harvest 1,300 lbs, save 3-400lbs of seed stock, and sell about 1,000 lbs.
I am also keeping a back burner thought of selling online in the future (not next year). I don't want to jump too fast into too many new learning curves, and an online effort is a whole nother can of worms.

Last edited by PureHarvest; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:43 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #72
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cripes... I can't sell garlic at .50 a head. congratulations!
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #73
PureHarvest
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That's for the really small stuff.
The larger 1.75"-2" bulbs i'm getting about .66 for.
In both cases, I'm getting $6/lb. About 12 bulbs/lb in the small, 9 in the 1.75-2".
This allows them to sell it for .99 and keep it under the $1 psychological price point, which they like.
Which brings up a good point for my market. Everything you read is all about sizing up bulbs and getting the largest bulb. Up until this summer, that was my push too.
But then I realized I am not growing these for me. If all my bulbs size up every year, and everything is huge, I have to charge more for each bulb, which means they do too. I'm pretty sure from discussions with multiple buyers, they would not be comfortable carrying a garlic bulb that they need to ask $1.50 or higher each for.
So, really, I'm hoping to get bulbs that all average 2" diameter so they have a nice size at the "right" price-point.
And selling by the pound makes no sense from a retailer standpoint in my experience.
Each price is the least common denominator for both the wholesale buyer and the retailer. No customer is buying pounds, so why price it that way and post a perceived expensive price.
Most customers buy 1-3 bulbs. So each pricing makes sense.
If I sold by the pound, a good retailer will still want to know how many bulbs are in a pound so they can figure out the each cost.
So when I discuss pricing, I tell them what each bulb will cost, and tie that in at the end to tell them how many bulbs go into a pound so they can order a bulk box.
They can easily calculate a markup on an each cost versus you telling them x per pound.
Kinda like when I ran the garden center. An 1801 flat of plants has 18 pots in it. Yes they sell them to me by the flat price, but our customers bought them by the each 99.9% of the time. So I always broke the flat price down to eaches. The thoughtful suppliers listed the each price next to the flat price on their lists for your convenience.
Once I knew my each, I could then set my retail (using gross margin desired, NOT Markup) knowing this is how customers bought this product.
What sounds better, .99 each or 8.99 per pound? It's the same price per pound either way, but 99.9% of customers are not buying a pound or more.
Now, I hear some of you thinking, "but the sellers online charge by the pound, and they are getting $13-25 per pound! You're leaving money on the table!"
Well that is good work if you can get it, but as of right now that is not my outlet. Maybe someday. My resources tell me the online places MUST charge high prices because they have a lot of overhead to do that type of marketing: website costs, online cart, credit card costs, invoicing, packaging material, packing/order fulfillment, shipping, and customer service. So when you boil it all down, much more cost is coming out of those higher prices. Most of the orders are 1 pound or less too. Much lower percentage of people like me who are growing are buying a bulk quantity, which is why they seriously discount the price per pound when you get beyond 25-50lbs.
The farm I bought from 2 years ago (bought 150 lbs from them), personally called me last August to see if I needed anything and was willing to do free shipping and knock another $1 off per pound from the normal price break. I declined, because I learned that they sold stuff from other farms as well as their own. I wanted a 100% grown on the same farm from a small family producer.
Once you get to the point where you are not buying any seed bulbs, there is not much production cost to get to harvest. From there, if you sell locally, even at wholesale, you could achieve a gross profit margin at 75% or better, and that is excellent in my book.

Last edited by PureHarvest; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:03 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #74
bower
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PH, I think you're going to love growing Chesnok Red, for the seed aspect. I was just looking over the Persian Star and Chesnok Red I harvested yesterday. 10-11 cloves in a bulb of Persian Star, and 8-10 in my Chesnok Red, about the same as Spanish Roja. The amount of bulbs necessary to replant the same amount is less than half the bulbs for the porcelains.

Possible down side of yield sold by the pound? In our climate they are later and smaller bulbs, so it could be an issue for us. I look forward to hearing how it all works out for you! Okay after reading what you just posted, could be perfect.
I haven't really eaten the Chesnok yet but the Persian Star is a great flavor fresh or cooked, so I think your chefs won't be disappointed. I also love the porcelains as simply the best all purpose garlic.


Just wondering, why are you planning to put the garlic in tunnels?

Last edited by bower; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:45 AM.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #75
PureHarvest
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One, to put them to use for something that makes money.
Two, to be able to prevent June rain from making the soil wet at harvest.
Three, to be able to harvest and be dry, even if it is raining.
Last, I am hoping to drop the sides in February to warm things up to get the plants started growing earlier. Not sure if this will mean the crop can finish earlier or not, but that is my hope.
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