Garlic is one of the most versatile and valuable foods we have. It belongs to the Allium family of vegetables which also includes onions, shallots, chives and leeks. Garlic can help promote the well being of the heart and the immune system. The antioxidant properties it has helps maintain healthy blood circulation and enhances the body's immune cell activity.
Some other health facts about garlic:
- Garlic helps regulate the body's blood pressure.
- Strengthens your body's defense against allergies.
- Helps loosen plaque from artery walls.
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels.
- It is chock full of vitamins and nutrients
There are two different sub-categories of garlic: Softneck and Hardneck.
Softneck garlic is the most common variety of garlic and is found in almost every supermarket. Softneck varieties are easy to grow and plant mechanically so they are the logical choice of large scale commercial growers. Another benefit of softneck varieties for commercial growers is the increased storage length compared to hardneck varieties. Softnecks are recognized by the soft papery skin that covers an abundance of cloves. Softneck garlic bulbs can produce up to 20 cloves that grow around the central core.
One of the main differences you will find in a hardneck garlic variety is that is produces a scape. A scape is sort of like a flower stalk of the garlic but instead of producing flowers it eventually produces bulbils. The scape should be cut so that the garlic plant can put all of its energy into bulb production. Scapes are edible and quite tasty. They can be used in any dish that would benefit from the flavor of garlic. Another difference between softneck and hardneck varieties is the clove size. Hardneck varieties have fewer, but much larger cloves per bulb. Many hardnecks have 8-10 cloves per bulb but there are some that only have 4-5 very large cloves per bulb.
Sunnydale Farms will be planting about 21 lbs of garlic seed this fall. We will be growing a variety of hardneck and softneck varieties that range from mild to strong in flavor. Healthy, fresh garlic will be available early next summer.