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All eyes on Devon for new season of prized green garlic crop
Food gourmets are looking to Devon for the start, in a few weeks’ time, of the prized ‘green garlic’ season. Also called ‘wet garlic’, the crop is only available from a handful of UK growers, including RADLEY CROSS MARKET GARDEN in Devon.
“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 start of the green garlic season is keenly awaited by top chefs, including Mark Dodson, at the award winning one star Michelin restaurant at the Masons Arms in Knowstone in North Devon. “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. We’ll be using the RADLEY CROSS green garlic as soon as it is ready.”
Within days of being picked, the RADLEY CROSS green garlic will be distributed throughout the South West by wholesaler Total Produce under its Growfair brand. Some of the RADLEY CROSS green garlic will also reach New Covent Garden, going from there to London’s top delicatessens and restaurants.
“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 was superb quality and sold 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!“
1. Attached photo of green garlic. Please contact Debbie Manners at ND Media for a high resolution version of this photo. 01598 760598. email@example.com
2. Ant has long experience as a garlic grower, being previously based in Northumberland. Here he specialised in dried garlic, and ran the Snods Edge Garlic Festival. He started growing green garlic two years ago after moving to North Devon.
3. Radley Cross Market Garden also grows Charlotte Potatoes, Pink Fir Apple Potatoes, Pink Jerusalem Artichokes, a variety of squashes, dried garlic, hot smoked garlic and a selection of flowers.
4. For more information see www.radleycrossmarketgarden.co.uk
5. Radley Cross Market Garden is a member of LEAF, Linking Environment And Farming.
6. For more information contact Ant Pelly on 01769 550639 or 07841 701244. Or email Ant at: radleyxmarketgarden@
7. Press release issued by ND Media. www.ndmedia.co.uk