WHAT started as a real backyard hobby has turned into a commercial bumper harvest for a Tamworth man.
Arborist Roy Cody has been growing garlic for himself and his friends for over 20 years, and after inventing a garlic planting machine three years ago and planting eight kilometres of garlic, he has started to sell it commercially.
Garlic is a very labour intensive crop, although this crop benefits from the by-products of the tree service and Tamworth’s cold winters.
“Garlic hates competition from weeds, but weeding takes so long, so I spread gum tree mulch over the crop which acts as a weed inhibitor and retains moisture and nutrients in the soil,” Mr Cody said.
A lot of supermarket garlic comes from China and has been sprayed with chemicals and anti-sprouting materials that preserve the bulbs, but are also quite dangerous for humans, he claims.
Added to the unsanitary conditions the garlic is grown in, there’s also the drawback of much of it being unsatisfactory and tasteless – but cost effective because of the cheaper cost of labour in China.
He says his Cody garlic has been lauded as some of the best garlic ever tasted in Australia – and there’s comments like “sensational”, and “I couldn’t live now without Roy’s garlic”, posted on his business, Roy’s Tree Service, website.
“The garlic is a bit more expensive than your supermarket variety, and that is labour cost, although this is local, fresh, and very tasty. I am getting large orders from all over Australia,” Mr Cody said.
He’s recently changed to an Argentinean strain of the bulb and says it has the same amazing flavour but will last longer on the shelf.
He sells through his website and some local retailers and fresh fruit and vegetable markets.
He’s handled some large orders lately, even from Western Australia, which he can’t fill due to quarantine rules.