In 1970 Roy Cody’s father-in-law gave him a bulb of garlic, and 47 years later Roy Cody’s Purple Garlic is a trademarked name being grown by wholesalers all over the eastern seaboard. While Mr Cody retired last year his name will live on forever in the garlic industry, as well as on the streets of Tamworth, where he was always a friendly face, and always up for a yarn.
“The name Roy’s Purple Garlic is going to be around long after Roy is pushing up garlic.”
That was the quaint response from local garlic guru Roy Cody after it was revealed that the particular variety of garlic that he grows on his Wallamore rd farm, and is now grown commercially all over the eastern seaboard, was going to be named after him.
While Mr Cody can’t be exactly sure of the actual cultivar of his produce, with over 100 known varieties in Australia alone, the former maths teacher can recall exactly where the first bulb came from over 47 years ago, and how his hobby turned into a passion, and eventually, an obsession.
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“My father in law gave me a bulb out of his garden shortly after my first marriage in 1970,” Mr Cody said.
“I started growing it for myself, then started giving some to family and friends, and then I was getting such good feedback that I started growing more and more and went with it.”
Now 47 harvests later Mr Cody is not sure how many more he will be making, but is over the moon in the knowledge that Roy’s Purple Garlic will live on.
“It has now been officially Roy’s Purple Garlic for two years now – There at least 26 commercial farms that have taken it on – I have sold 220kg to commercial farms distributed all over the three eastern states,” Mr Cody said.
“It is a Turbin, probably a New Zealand purple variety, although garlic mutates over time and takes on its own characteristics from the environment it is grown in, so after 47 years here, it is definitely unique.”
That uniqueness generally comes from the soil, but not so much in this case, with the guru coming up with his own unique, all organic growing method where the garlic is grown on top of the “heavy clay soil”, under a layer of gum tree mulch to “slow the weeds down.”
While many producers wouldn’t, Mr Cody can always be found chatting to his customers, and anyone else who will listen, about the best ways to grow Roy’s Purple Garlic for themselves.
“I always say buy some to eat and some to grow. Plant them on Anzac Day and harvest in November,” he said.