November 5, 2013
James Barber's soft neck garlic
I have planted my garlic in the new beds on our new farm on the island where I grew up. I have recently returned here after 20 years of farming elsewhere. The garlic is the first cash crop I have put in to this soil and it is a blessed auspicious beginning. I looked hard for a source of interesting soft neck garlic because I intend to braid and weave them into edible wreaths for value added sales. I stumbled upon the most precious of strains and now have a rainbow of potential sprouting in composted beds that I visit and contemplate daily. The garlic came from a friend of a friend and has a history. James Barber, was a chef and a celebrity and a lovely man supportive of small farmers in B.C. and fresh local food. He was a pioneer of the local food movement. I used to chat with him on the ferry coming over from the gulf island morning milk run and we would talk about food and farming as the ferry wove its way through the foggy channels.He was also a regular customer at the markets. What I didn't know then was that he had a green thumb himself and bought a little farm in Cowichan when he left the gulf islands. He traveled, and collected garlic, in Sicily, and France, and he loved colour and sought flavour. It is this garlic that I have planted in my garden; saved since his death in 2007 by his son and now secure in my collection. I am going to call it Jbets (James Barber's European Travels Softneck). Thanks James!
Posted by anne at 10:24 AM