What is your business and what’s unique about it? Roy’s Organic Garlic. I have been growing the same garlic for about 28 years from a single bulb that I can’t recall where it came from. As garlic tends to mutate a little over time, my garlic is now officially known as Roy’s Purple Garlic.
Why did you get into this line of work? I grew garlic for my own use and gave it to friends and relations before 2009. People gave me such positive feedback about how good my garlic was that I expanded production and began to sell it at local markets.
What do you find most and least satisfying about it? It’s very satisfying to provide a good, healthy product that people enjoy. The weeding is very labour-intensive; the cleaning, removing the roots and the stalk is also very monotonous.
What do you think is the biggest challenge and opportunity in your industry? The biggest challenge is the cheap, poor-quality, chemical-laden stuff mostly from China. Our challenge is to increase production and choose varieties that will last longer.
What are you most proud of in your work? I’m very proud of the silver medal we won this year and the bronze medal we won last year in the Royal Melbourne Fine Foods Awards.
Who do you most admire? I admire Australian Garlic Industry Association encouraging more people to grow Aussie garlic. I have started 21 garlic farms with quality seed as their first or additional variety to plant.
What is your favourite time of the day? I am a morning person so I enjoy the morning to get my work done.
What is your favourite invention? That would be my [self-designed and built] garlic planter and my method of planting on top of the ground and covering with mulch.
What do you love to do in your spare time? I enjoy gardening and wood turning.
The final word: We need to look after our planet without the use of chemicals that upset the balance of nature. We need more organic and sustainable farming techniques so our food will not be a chemical cocktail as it is at the moment.