Increased profits for sustainably produced garlic

2006 Annual Report for LNE05-231

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2005: $65,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Dr. Gayle Volk
Gayle Volk

Increased profits for sustainably produced garlic


Garlic is a profitable crop for small- to medium-sized vegetable farmers in the Northeast. Despite the increasing market for specialty garlics, it is remarkable how little is known about the diverse types of garlic available in the U.S. Farmers need to know which garlic types perform well under their growing conditions, and they need reliable descriptors to publicize these types to their customers. In this proposal, vegetable farmers will use sustainable practices to perform the first multi-year garlic variety trial. We will determine how ten garlic types respond to cultural practices across five farms in the Northeast and then recommend types that excel. This is a project that garlic farmers value nationwide. In fact, we have six volunteer garlic growers from other regions in the U.S. who will participate in this project with their expenses defrayed by the Garlic Seed Foundation. This project has one research and three outreach objectives.

Objectives/Performance Targets

We will increase the yield, quality and uniformity of garlic produced by small scale farms. In the Northeast, the number of garlic growers will increase by 10% (60 growers) and profits will increase by 25% for 300 of the current garlic producers. In addition, nationally 100 growers will begin garlic production and 2500 current growers will have increased yields by growing garlics best suited to their regional environments.

Objective 1) Correlate the yield and qualities of ten distinct garlic cultivars with growth environment, inputs, quality, and chemical composition data.

Objective 2) Increase public awareness of garlic diversity.

Objective 3) Develop name recognition and appreciation for selected varietal garlics.

Objective 4) Attract new growers to this profitable niche commodity.


1) September 2004: PI and key project leader met with garlic growers in Geneva, NY to discuss project proposal and determine priority research areas. Completed.

2) Summer 2006: Garlic growers participating in the grant harvest their first year experimental crop and data is tabulated. Status: bulb character data collected, antioxidant and nutrient analyses underway.

September 2006: Next garlic crop was planted. We added a participant from Ontario, Canada as an additional site.

3) Fall 2006: Public views the website that lists growth protocols detailed for each grower. Preliminary results are presented at outreach forums (Garlic Seed Foundation sponsored events (>50 attendees), Garlic Festivals (>4000 attendees), Garlic is Life Symposium (>50 attendees) and through written documents (Garlic Press, circ. 1200).

February 2006: Web site developed for outreach at

Plan of work:
Summer 2007: Garlic growers harvest second year crop and data is tabulated.

Fall 2007: Garlic enthusiasts find out results from the first multi-location, multi-variety garlic research trial in the Garlic Press (circ. 1200), a scientific journal (such as HortScience, available at libraries worldwide), and through press releases distributed to newspapers, gardening magazines, farm newsletters, as well as posted on the website. Results are presented at scientific meetings as well as a minimum of six public outreach forums throughout the northeast (>5000 attendees).

Summer 2008: Follow-up conversations with new growers that have contacted project personnel as well as survey of garlic growers.

The number of garlic growers will increase by 10% (60 growers) and profits will increase by 25% for 50% of the current garlic producers. In addition, nationally 100 growers will begin garlic production and 2500 current growers will have increased yields by growing garlic varieties best suited to their regional environments.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

In 2006, eight outreach presentations reached more than 1500 members of the garlic growing community. At each presentation, there was enthusiasm and support for our research efforts. Our web site ( has been positively received and will soon provide information about garlic growing methods for each of the project participants. Garlic bulb trait data reveals a huge variation in coloration, clove number, and bulb size across the different locations and varieties. Some varieties clearly had higher yields in Northeast, mid-Atlantic, or southern locations. Bulb samples have been submitted for nutrient analyses and antioxidant measurements are underway.

Outreach presentations:

6/7/06–David Stern, Acokeek, MD; 65 attendees

7/28/06–David Stern, Richmond, VT; 40 attendees

7/30/06–David Stern. Brunswick, ME; 16 attendees

9/23-9/24–Project participants at Hudson Valley Garlic Festival; 1000 booth visitors and 180 attendees at David Stern presentation in Saugerties, NY; 50 Gayle Volk attendees

12/1/06–David Stern, Abington, VA; 65 attendees

12/2/06–David Stern, Abington, VA; 150 attendees

9/22/06–Project participant meeting, Albany, NY


David Stern
Project Leader
Garlic Seed Foundation
Rose Valley Farm
Rose, NY 14542
Office Phone: 3155879787