Bill Ableson is a semi-retired systems analyst and he and his wife, Sharon, have a 260 acre farm near Carleton Place, ON.
They been growing garlic since 2005, and this year had about 31,000 plants.
They decided early not to sell garlic directly, but instead to specialize in value added products such as spreads, pestos and jellies and in 2008 they formed ‘The Garlic Pantry’ to sell these items. Since then, they have expanded their product line to include a number of smoked garlic items (bulbs, cloves, chips and powder), and lastly, Black Garlic.
The black garlic adventure started in 2011, with a temperature controller borrowed from a Bradley smoker, a 1000 watt hotplate, a USB fan, and a retired chest freezer. The first results exceeded expectations, and led to visions of cornering the Canadian black garlic market, and perhaps world domination! However further experiments with larger equipment and more sophisticated controls produced mixed results, so they are still refining the process.
All their products are made from their own garlic or garlic sourced from other Ontario growers. Currently all sales are through garlic festivals or by mail.