Garlic has been grown on the Isle of Wight for over fifty years and The Garlic Farm
is now the UK's largest specialist grower of the mighty garlic bulb. Famed for its excellent flavour and keeping qualities, this is indeed the destination site if you want to stock up on bulbs, seeds and all things garlicky.
WHERE TO BEGIN
First off, if you find yourself down Isle of Wight way, make a detour and drop into The Garlic Farm
, where you can learn all about garlic. There are cookery demonstrations, farm tours, a cafe where you can sample locally sourced culinary delights and finally, stock up on garlic goodies in the farm shop.
During the holidays, the Taste Experience gives visitors the opportunity to try the whole range which is a great way to ensure you take home the right products. There are also raw garlic tastings where you can try various types of garlic, learn about their differences and how best to use them in your cooking.
MORE THAN BULBS
Buying bulbs is at the top of most people's shopping lists and given that the Solent Wight garlic bulbs keep for up to six months, it's worthwhile popping a few into an online order
. There are up to fifteen different varieties available, including the jumbo and colossal elephant garlic, which are just that and have a mild nutty flavour. The oak smoked garlic (which keeps for four to six weeks) is particularly good, stuffed into a roast or to add a touch of smokiness to a sauce. Garlic is also available in grappes (posies) that can be used for decoration and cooking, as well as in plaits of ten or sixteen to twenty bulbs.
However, this is where it gets interesting as there is more to The Garlic Farm
than bulbs with its growing range of sauces, pickles, chutneys, and salts, each and everyone of them worthy of a place in your kitchen. Oak smoked butter is perfect with a baked potato or on a steak. The garlic infused mayonnaises add a 'Je ne sais quoi' to summer salads (the Toasted Garlic looks particularly tempting). The Roast Garlic Jam can be served with cheese or roasted root vegetables. With sauces for pasta, a kitchen cupboard classic in the form of Coronation Sauce, which can be served with cold chicken or used as a baste for barbecuing meats, garlic infused sea salt and olive oil, you need look no further to satisfy your garlic needs.
GARLIC LOVER'S CLUB
Sign up to The Garlic Lover's Club and receive a parcel of garlic goodness delivered every month, including the long-keeping garlic as well as some garlic inspired produce. There are also additional perks including exclusive 'members only' discounts. Gold membership is £15.95 inc p&p and Silver, £11.95 inc p&p.
TO COMPLETE THE PICTURE
Round off this fabulous selection of garlic infused foods, with a well chosen selection of garlic gadgets, including the Twist Cross Cutter, that crushes, peels and minces garlic easily. There are various recipes books too with a small selection of recipes online.
HOW TO GUIDES
Find information on growing your own garlic
from seed, with a downloadable guide giving tips and advice, as well as a well designed calendar telling you what to do and when. The need-to-know on this is that you plant seed from September through to March.