Julie Fleischauer – “Ten Fingerprints, and Ten Toes! The Varieties of Garlic, and How to Grow them all.”
For over ten years, the Fleischauer family has grown a rich diversity of different garlic varieties on their certified organic farm, near Stratford, Ontario. Julie has spent much of those ten years learning first hand the unique challenges and delights in growing so many kinds of garlic, and has enjoyed marketing the garlic harvest through their seed garlic catalogue, and also here at the Stratford Kiwanis Garlic Festival, at the Fleischauer’s booth, Golden Acres Farm.
Golden Acres is a one hundred acre farm, cared for by the Fleischauer’s since 1910. Julie’s parents, Rob and Dianne, brought the farm to organic status about 20 years ago, and have used plant diversity and cover crops to build up the soil. By maintaining a six crop field rotation, with all straw and plant stocks returned to the land, they have seen a marked change occur in the tilth of their clay loam soil. Along with her family, Julie is an avid gardener and an aspiring homesteader. In her 24 years of growing up on an organic farm, she has been happy to have participated in a lot of crops when they were at their best, and worst, and learned something from every example of this extraordinary relationship that belongs between the soil, the plants, and us.
Garlic has fantastic properties, unlimited to the medicinal and culinary fields. Out in the sun, or down in the dark, winter earth, garlic is alive throughout every stage of the year, always breathing and evolving, always responding with exquisite intuition to the changes in its environment. Though they all have many of the same physical features, each variety of garlic presents a new strength to the species. Each has its own fingerprint of identity, expressed through a wonderful plethora of sensory intrigue; including taste, colour, size and shape. Combine all of these traits, both the obvious and the more clandestine, and we begin to see the character and biological ability of garlic, and understand why it has emerged once more in Ontario as an abundant superfood and a respected backyard resident .
With many pictures and lively descriptions, Julie invites you to learn something about each of the ten varietal groups grown on Golden Acres Farm.