The Growth of Garlic Farms

Garlic farms sprang up across the province in the east, the southwest and the north. Over just a few years, Ontario garlic production covered as much as four thousand acres (1,600 hectares). Then trouble struck.

In the 1990s, large quantities of Chinese garlic was “dumped” on the Canadian market. According to farmer Warren Ham, the price paid for their imported garlic didn’t even cover its shipping costs. It was devastating for growers, causing many Ontario garlic farmers to call it a day. Ontario garlic production plunged by 90 percent, to just four hundred acres.

The Garlic Growers Association of Ontario complained to the Canadian Border Services Agency. The result was a tariff that lasted a decade (1997–2007). Still, it’s dubious whether these tariffs actually helped the growers. Some say that the garlic was shipped via third-party countries. Boxes arrived in Canada with the word “China” covered up with a fresh “Philippines” sticker. Same box, new label. Food wholesalers merely turned a blind eye. If you ask Ontario Garlic Growers Association president Mark Wales, the trade tariff had a negligible effect.104 Ontario garlic did bounce back, despite the imports.

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Garlic Farm, Garlic Festival

For the competitive garlic grower, the Verona Garlic Festival hosts the Eastern Ontario Garlic Awards, now in its nineteenth year. Organized by Paul Pospisil, at the garlic awards growers show off their “garlic with pride and win cash, souvenir ribbons, certificates and bragging rights for growing the best garlic in the region.”

Pospisil’s reputation as the “Garlic Guru” comes from many years’ experience growing more than two hundred types of garlic on his farm, Beaver Pond Estates, in Maberly, Ontario. He tests each type for its adaptability to Canadian growing conditions, including their resistance to pests and disease. His quarterly publication, Garlic News, is a recognized authority on garlic. Pospisil conducts his annual Garlic Field Day at his farm for local garlic growers and garlic enthusiasts.

Festival Information About Growing Garlic & Garlic Farm

Garlic festivals, held annually from August to September across the province, provide information on growing garlic. And you’ll find a friendly and informative farmer with tips on growing garlic at any of the hundreds of farmers’ markets across Ontario, from Kenora to Kingston

A good source of information on growing garlic is the Garlic News. Editor and garlic guru Paul Pospisil publishes four issues per year from his garlic farm in Maberly, Ontario.

Get information and tips about garlic farm at the 8th Annual Toronto Garlic Festival on Sunday, September 16, 2018, 9am to 5pm at Artscape Wychwood Barns – 601 Christie Street at St Clair Ave West, Toronto. Admission is only $5!