On Sunday 23 September a gathering was held for local garlic growers and those interested in growing garlic (as a market crop) out at the Old Cheese Factory in Reidsdale.
There were about thirty people in all with about half being growers and the others very interested in growing. Thanks to the efforts of Giles Bonin (and Victoria) and others, garlic has become a crop of significant interest in the Braidwood area. Garlic is a crop that does well in our cool climate and long frost season. It is now being grown in just about every vegie garden and it was clear from the gathering that small to larger scale production in the area is on the increase with people viewing garlic as a worthwhile market crop. The Gathering was an opportunity to meet, initiate links and enable sharing of information.
With the increasing demand for Australian grown garlic and the growing interest in local food we need to ensure that Braidwood is recognised for its garlic (as part of the South East cool climate garlic growing region). This can only be done if we share information and learning; and continue to encourage new growers.
At the gathering it was agreed that a key way of doing this was to enable those interested in growing garlic to work alongside existing growers during peak activities - planting, harvesting and braiding. Harvesting will begin in November. Harvesting is generally over a short period but is very intense. (All harvesting in this area is done by hand.) A digital forum has been set up to assist with this learning/labour exchange and to continue to share information.
If you want to join the forum as a garlic grower or possible garlic grower, email Bronwyn Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org or there is a way to ask to be a member through google groups, but the individual will need to know how to do this themselves.
Other matters discussed including holding some sort of annual garlic event and the development of a Braidwood Garlic website.