We are delighted to welcome The Garlic Farm to the OTB, a business that has recently converted to certified organic!
The Garlic Farm is a third-generation family business based on the Isle of Wight, in the middle of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. They grew their first garlic bulbs on the Isle of Wight over 50 years ago and the family farm continues to offer quality garlic from their own fields and those of partner farms. The Garlic Farm produce and procure a huge variety of high-quality garlic and garlic inspired product including mayonnaise, chutney, and condiments. Their quest for flavour is probably best expressed by their unparalleled hot oak smoked garlic, which is simply glorious!
In October 2022 the 200 acre farm completed conversion to certified organic with the Soil Association. During their conversion process the farm team learned techniques on maintaining fertility and biological activity within soil. Integrating livestock within the garlic rotation is a cornerstone of their circular approach of keeping the garlic beds in good heart.
The creation of soil structure at microbial level is, among other things, nature’s way of engineering water-holding capacity – something that became crucial this summer.
Encouraging deep, strong roots by creating long rest periods for plants by altering their grazing to a holistic system has begun to show positive results. Mob grazing is not a requirement of organic standards, but the team are seeing the benefits of combining these regenerative methods with organic practices for their out-wintered Traditional Hereford and Highland suckler herds. Significant help and support with these approaches has come from both courses at FarmEd and the ongoing guidance from Niels Corfield.
A process of improvement is by nature never finished but this organic certification with The Soil Association is a helpful step in their mission to tread lightly.
“There is evidence of the benefits that organic farming can deliver to soil, animals, wildlife, climate, and humans. The hope is that by learning more about the interconnected nature of these elements we can implement tangible, practical improvement on our farmland. Some of these restorative indicators can be seen already, others may take many more years to be measurable and I hope that by doing the work and communicating the impact we can encourage other farms and producers to switch to organic.” – Barnes Edwards, Director
The Garlic Farm’s first crop of home-grown, certified organic garlic will be harvested in the summer of 2023. Moving toward certified organic for the remainder of their product range and menu items will be a longer process and we look forward to sharing the journey with them!