“Green Garlic has a very short season, like asparagus, and is not widely known about,” explains Ant Pelly who, with his wife Penny, runs RADLEY CROSS MARKET GARDEN, the largest supplier of green garlic in the South West. “Our garlic is grown outdoors, and harvested by hand when it is very young, before the bulb divides into separate cloves. It’s not really a UK crop at all, it’s a Mediterranean crop, but I liked the idea of growing it here, and it seems to do well on our land which we farm in a sustainable way. Britain imports most of its green garlic from France or Egypt, and often it is rather small and unappetising, but our green garlic is fat and juicy, and entirely chemical free.”
The green garlic season is keenly awaited by top chefs, among them Mark Dodson, at the award winning one star Michelin restaurant at the Masons Arms in Knowstone in North Devon. He has just had his first delivery of this season’s green garlic. “We always look forward to the green garlic season and try to make the most of it. Green garlic has a delicious subtle flavour, much less pungent than dried garlic. It is not widely available, with very few UK growers, and it tends to get over-looked as it is not sold in supermarkets, but it is a fabulous product. “
The RADLEY CROSS green garlic is distributed throughout the South West by wholesaler Total Produce under its Growfair brand. Some of the green garlic is also destined for New Covent Garden, going from there to London’s top delicatessens and chefs via Tony Booth ( Tayshaw Ltd ) green grocers.
“It’s a niche product,” says Colin Putt, Sales Manager at Total Produce (Cornwall). “We were excited when we came across Ant Pelly’s green garlic for the first time last year. It’s superb quality and sells well. It’s great to have a local supplier, so we’re happy to have it in our portfolio. We sell it on mainly to the restaurant trade in Devon and Cornwall, to high end chefs who know how to use it.”
RADLEY CROSS green garlic is also sold in several Devon farm shops, including Witheridge Farm Shop. “I love it because it is local, but I sell it because it is good!” says owner Ted Bath. “Many of my customers are cooks and they look forward to it. When it’s on the shelf, it is snapped up. For me, it heralds the start of the summer. It has that Mediterranean feel, you can almost taste the sunshine. All you need is some asparagus, new potatoes, early tomatoes and Ant’s green garlic and you’re in heaven!“
Attached picture of sea bass and green garlic, dish cooked with this season's green garlic from Radley Cross, by Chef Mark Dodson from Masons Arms, Knowstone.
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