Did you know that garlic needs time to acclimatise to the ground before it gives you its best? It takes a lot of patience and several harvests to get to a point where garlic is happy in the ground and ready to produce the very best of bulbs.
Our kitchens use more than 1,000 bulbs of garlic every year, so it makes sense for us to grow our own in Mary’s Organic Garden. And so we grow soft neck garlic (easier to braid and store than the hard neck variety!) which produces gorgeous, light purple bulbs packed with flavour.
Having sourced what we now call our ‘starter bulbs’ from Spain, we planted them, allowed them to grow, harvested them, broke the bulbs up, planted the cloves, allowed them to grow into bulbs, harvested them, broke the bulbs up, planted the cloves, allowed them to grow…several times over to allow them to acclimatise to the ground.
All that time and patience has paid off. Our garlic now thrives in the organic soil here in Adare and is rewarding us with an abundance of bulbs every year. We plant them in the winter and harvest in the summer (according to tradition, you should plant garlic on the shortest day of the year (21st December) and harvest on the longest day of the year (21st June)!).
The biggest bulbs are set aside to be broken up and planted for the next crop, while the rest is safely stored for the hotel’s kitchens to use throughout the year.