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Eating garlic, or even cooking garlic, leaves a certain undesirable fragrance in the air. While it adds incredible flavour and benefits many dishes, its scent is not its selling point. But a garlic flower? Now that’s a different story.
Garlic flowers are not commonly found in floral designs and certainly don’t adorn a classic bouquet but that might all be about to change.
Dougal Munro is a farmer of a particular variety of garlic in NSW; his crop produces elephant garlic.
Elephant garlic bulbs can be immensely large; sometimes one clove can be larger than an entire head of regular garlic.
In an interview with the ABC’s Skye Manson, Mr Munro discussed an array of issues he has confronted marketing this unique variety of garlic and overcoming its appearance has been one of his greatest hurdles.
"Yeah that has been one problem I have come across, the size and also the flavour," he said.
The market for his produce is niche. Unlike other garlic growers, Mr Munro does not sell direct to supermarkets but instead sells his garlic as seed stock for garlic growers or as a wholesale product to restaurateurs.
The size of his produce lends itself to efficiency and cost effectiveness, which is why it best suits these types of consumers.
"I thought why not send them something bigger, use a little bit more, to get that pungency at a cheaper price," he said.
He had his target market identified and was keenly aware of the value of his product but he didn’t anticipate another potential market blooming in his crops; flowers. His elephant garlic crop actually produced aesthetically pleasing, mauve-purple blooms.
"I've found a market for bundling them up into small bunches, with a pretty piece of string and a little label and then I put it in for the flower trade believe it or not." he said.
And while they blossom from his unusual looking elephant garlic, they are prettier in appearance and more delicate in scent.
"They actually don't have a garlic smell; they have quite a sweet, light honey smell."
Lovely as fresh flowers and impressive once dried, these interesting blooms could signal the beginning of a new trend in the flower market.
Garlic flowers anyone?