Shawarma and Caesar and mashed up potatoes, aioli and chicken and saucy tomatoes, pasta and hummus and cloves by the string, these are a few of our favourite things.
And these things taste even better when we use garlic from Skimmerhorn Farms in Creston, B.C. Their gourmet garlic is prepared, planted, harvested and cured by the combined forty fingers of the Penner family.
“We really believe in natural foods,” says matriarch Elisabeth Penner. So they grow their garlic pesticide-free and herbicide-free. Before the garlic is even planted, the soil has been fed, watered and massaged using green manure crops,organic alfalfa hay and organic blood meal.
The Penners then separate the best bulbs from the cloves with precision, and keep them between eight to 10 degrees Celsius for perfect planting. Once hand-planted in October or November, the garlic flourishes in the mountainous sunny climate. Unfortunately, so do the weeds.
“That’s why a lot of people give up,” admits Elisabeth, referring to growing garlic without the use of pesticides or herbicides. “We spend a lot of time on our knees weeding by hand through the summer months.”
When harvest time (finally) comes around in August, the family pulls each stalk out of the ground and hangs it to dry for up to eight weeks. This way the garlic can gather nutrients as it dries from stalk to bulb. At last, the Penners trim,clean and package the garlic for sale exclusively at Sunterra.
So the next time your meal is humdrum, spice it up with some strong, hot German Red garlic. Or bring in some softer flavour with the Susan Delafield variety.And the next time you’re on a road trip through B.C., slow down, open the windows and take a deep breath. The hills are alive with (the smell of) garlic.