A purple patchNovember 15, 2009
Remember my quest for Australian garlic, which then resulted in the talented Cate Kennedy sending me some of her garlic shoots?
Well, that garlic is coming along nicely in my garden as we speak, this one pictured here next to the tomatoes and some purple basil and salad greens – tricky in my small garden to do the right companion planting, as Stephanie Alexander tells me it won’t grow well with peas and beans, both of which I’ve got a little further away. But, while Cate’s garlic will hopefully tootle along, it takes six to eight months for it to grow, and a girl’s gotta find a substitute in the meantime, right?
So, praise be to the lovely purple cardboard box that arrived by post this week.
Some time ago I had heard of Patrice Newell’s organic biodynamic garlic available online. I registered monthsago, way back before her harvest time, and then forgot about it until receiving an email a couple of weeks ago, telling me Patrice’s “purple glamour garlic” was ready to go, and did I want some?
Yes I did, despite expecting it to be horrifically expensive. I thought ‘bugger it’, and got online. And to my surprise found that a kilo of garlic, which turns out to be 16 gorgeous heads of the stuff, was $38 plus about $5 postage. So we’re talking $2.70 per head of garlic.
And what garlic it is. We had our first taste the other night, and I cannot tell you how fresh and moist and delicious it is. The kind of fresh you see sometimes in very new ginger, just glistening with juice as you slice it. The instructions that come with the box (elegant, recycled and recyclable packaging) tell me the garlic will last for five months before sprouting if kept in a dry, well ventilated spot, and your kitchen bench is recommended as good a place as any. I was staggered at that keepability, which makes me wonder just how old is the garlic we’ve been buying at the grocer, which often begins to sprout after a week.
But this is a bit of a moot point, because at our usual rate of consumption we will get through it long before five months. And I’ve begun taking a bulb of this garlic with me every time we visit a friend, because it’s so good I reckon it’s a cracker gift to take along to dinner with a bottle of wine. So actually I expect I’ll be on to my next order very soon.
If you check out Patrice Newell’s website there’s lots of interesting facts about garlic – including the advice to never keep garlic in the fridge, as dryness is crucial.
And anyway – as you can see, it’s so beautiful, who wouldn’t want it on display?