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Garlic is Life!
Symposium and Festival
Please E-MAIL Darrell Merrell if you have any questions about the Festival.
Garlic is the herb of the year in the herbal world for 2004 and true to this theme, the focus of the Fourth Garlic is Life Symposium will be on taking a closer look at our favorite topic, gourmet garlic. The seminars this year will be on the DNA fingerprinting of around 400 cultivars of garlic and the progress report on the true garlic seed development program. Also on the agenda is a discussion of the importance of seed banks and the preservation of planting stocks as well as the presentation of a report on the study on storing garlic at a constant temperature of 27 degrees F.
Unlike the almost surrealistic atmosphere at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and other festivals, the Garlic is Life! Symposium and Festival is, first and foremost, an information exchange where garlicky intellectuals come to enjoy one another's company and delightful designer garlic breaths. That's right. These people don't have ordinary garlic breath, they have Metechi breath or Burgundy breath or Spanish Roja or Music or Red Toch breath. These are the people who invented designer garlic breath. Eating garlic makes you feel really good. Have you ever noticed that people with garlic breath are usually grinning? These folks are almost giddy at times. Try it, you'll like it.
Darrell Merrell and Chester Aaron, author of Garlic is Life, among many other books went international again for the fourth Symposium by inviting special guest Joachim Keller, Ph. D., Director of a working group of the Institute for Plant Genetics and Crop Research in Gaterslaben, Germany. Dr. Keller will speak on the importance of gene banks, especially in a world of GMO plants whose pollen is spreading around the world on the winds and adversely affecting the biological foundation that has been successful for millions of years. That humans can change the future forever by interfering with nature for short term profit is truly frightening.
The Friday Growers Conference will center around growing healthy garlic, storing it properly and marketing gourmet garlics profitably. This is the heart and soul of the symposium for small growers who are wanting to expand and gives them a chance to discuss growing garlic and its attendant problems, with those who are most experienced. This alone is worth the trip and the price of admission - there is simply no place else where the answers are available, but here.
Saturday Chester Aaron, noted author and unofficial Ambassador of Garlic will conduct a garlic tasting while Lisa Becklund, former owner/Chef of the award winning La Medusa restraurant in Seattle, WA, will conduct a cooking class with emphasis on using different varieties of garlic to obtain particular effects in recipies. The fee will be $30, although the time has not yet been finalized, it will probably be in the general vicinity of noon. Travel and Leisure Magazine named La Medusa as one of the Best 50 New Restaurants in the USA in 1997. She specializes in Sicilian cooking. In Sicilian, "La Medusa" means "Soul Food". She uses lots of garlic in her cooking.
You can never tell who's going to show up for these conferences, interesting guests in the past have included David Mirelman, Ph. D., a biological chemist from Weitzman Institute in Rehovot, Israel. Dr. Eric Block, Professor of Chemistry at SUNY was there to discuss his years of experience in garlic research. Dr. Fred Crowe, perhaps the foremost authority on garlic diseases was here to talk about garlic diseases. Dr. Ron Voss of U Cal-Davis was here to talk about Integrated Pest Management and their garlic and onion disease website, which is a valuable resource to all who grow garlic. Dr. Bill Randle, U. of Georgia Horticulturist chaired the World Allium Conference recently discussed onion/garlic breeding.
Many of the regulars will be back also and they may include such well known researchers as Rich Hannan, Director of the USDA PI Station at Pullman, Wash. and Phil Simon, the biologist who first classified garlic into the five general types and 17 isozyme groups. John Swenson, without whose efforts few of these varieties of garlic would be here may return and maybe Dr. Gosala Sivam, medical researcher will again stop by or Dr. Jeff Nekola U. of Wisconsin researcher. Perhaps Chef Tony Lia of the Blue Note in Las Vegas will again show us cooking tips and secrets - well worth attending. Is that a bunch of heavy hitters, or what? Truly, over the years these symposia have seen the greatest assemblage of garlic intellectuals ever. You can be a part of it too, all you have to do is show up and learn.
And then, of course, there's Bob Dunkel and David Stern of the Garlic Seed Foundation who might return, as will Walt Lyons of Yucca Ridge Farms, Richard Smith of Garlicsmiths of Kettle Falls, WA. and I will be there also and a few more growers as well. The folks from Seed Savers Exchange will again deliver their much needed message on the importance of open-pollenated plants and preserving the ones we have left.
Some of the very interesting writers who attended the first three symposia and may be back again this year and include William Woys Weaver, author of "Heirloom Vegetable Gardening" or Lloyd John Harris, author of The Book of Garlic, Stanley and Rosemary Crawford, author of A Garlic Testament, Fred and Linda Griffith, authors of Garlic, Garlic, Garlic, and Louis and Marie Van Devin, authors of Onions and Garlic Forever and a few others. You just never know who is going to show up.
It's a great opportunity not only to listen to authors talk about their writings, but to meet them and talk with them over coffee and rolls in the mornings or afternoon breaks. Lunch is usually eaten around tables that seat 6 or 8 people and you can simply take a seat at any table where there is both room and someone you would like to visit with. There's also a very nice tree shaded atrium/patio with a fountain in the open air courtyard between buildings where you can eat lunch if you want to and there will always be others that you can chat with eating out there, too. The gatherings are a participatory thing so you become part of it rather than just watching it as if from afar. It is the feeling of being part of it that makes the experience so meaningful. You also just happen to learn a lot more that way.
The first three Garlic is Life Symposia were immensely successful in that they brought together people with a common interest - they all wanted to know more about garlic from people who are recognized experts in their fields. People wanted to know all about the growing, harvesting and storage of it as well as the cooking and eating of it , and how it affects the human body as well. Authors were there to autograph their books and "bioneers" talked about their leading edge work. It is a forum where researchers can present their findings to people who care about garlic.
It's more than a series of formalized seminars, it's also an opportunity for people who are involved in garlic to meet informally and get to know one another and become friends as well. We in the garlic business are often isolated from others and don't get much of a chance to talk shop with peers. Much more information changes hands in the off hours between seminars and in the evenings as people informally chat with others about their experiences. It's during the breaks and lunches and side trips that friendships are formed. While it's nice to meet people whose books you've read, it's extra special to become friends with them.
While they're not scheduled, sometimes a large group of people agree to meet and have dinner at some particular restaurant and then we all descend on it sit as a group, but with each person being responsible for their own meal. It gives us a couple of hours to talk about our personal lives and where we're from, etc. It doesn't take long to become friends and when you call them on business six months later, you're talking to a friend, not a stranger.
If you will click on the links above or below to read the reports about the first three symposia, you will understand why we all keep coming back and bringing more people with us. It is simply the best possible place to be to learn as much as you can about garlic and the people involved in it. Where else can you have lunch with Chester Aaron or Dr. Phil Simon or Professor Eric Block? If you really like garlic and want to find out all you can about it, there's just no place else you can go.
The dress code is strictly informal and the informality is another plus - it removes any tendency toward pretentiousness. Our sponsor, Darrell Merrell wears his overalls and blue work shirt, topped with a straw hat. It's hard to be snooty when you're dressed like that. Most of us wear the clothes we use when we lounge around the house or garden.
I've been to conventions in the insurance, radio communications and computer industries where despite the circus-like atmosphere, the prevailing attitude was one of mistrust and suspicion - as if everyone there was a potential enemy. The very opposite attitude has prevailed at the Garlic is Life! Symposia. The atmosphere is a warm, friendly cooperative spirit and and a pleasant cordiality on the part of all who attend - and it's genuine. No one is trying to stab a competitor in the back or gain some kind of marketplace advantage. We all know the market is bigger than all of us and such attitudes are unnecessary and undesireable. We can all do each other more good by cooperating than by competing. The wholesome friendliness is almost a spiritual thing.
As suggested by the picture above, one good thing has followed another. The merriment has continued as if there had been no year or longer interruption. The good times and great new information keep on rolling in. You wouldn't think times could get any better but they have with every symposium. From all the presentations through the growers forum and the evening garlic feasts, it's clear that this year will be the best yet.
I also didn't think Darrell Merrell and company could improve on the Great Garlic Feast on Friday, but, of course, they did every year. There's no way they could possibly outdo the great 2001 Feast, so they have decided to change course and focus more on the quality and variety of the garlic in the recipe rather than just the quantity. On Saturday Lisa Becklund will demonstrate the proper way to use different varieties of garlics with different flavors in cooking and in other preparations. She will also show ways to prepare and cook things you grow in your garden. Lisa's culinary talent has won her acclaim and now it will win her friends. Our favorite writer and everybody's favorite uncle, Chester Aaron, will also conduct a garlic tasting so people can experience the differences between these culinary treasures for themselves.
It'll be better than ever. Life's all about making new memories to cherish in our old age. New old friends will be back and a good time will be had yet again by everyone. I can already hear the sizzle of thick slices of Metechi garlic and fresh vegetables being tossed around the wok and smell the exotic cooking oils.
I'm anxious for the growers roundtable where growing problems, solutions and techniques are discussed and a marketing discussion as well. This year there will be an in-depth discussion of garlic pathogens and pests and how to deal with them organically. Bryan Hostick, dirt whisperer, will give a presentation on soil health based on his years as a commercial composter and discuss compost tea and organic growing. I'm getting antsy having to wait for it.
Chester Aaron is the author of Garlic is Life
- Coordinator of the Garlic is Life Symposssium. -
- Founders of The Seed Savers Exchange. -<<
- Our Beloved Founder -
- The Tomato Man, With Garlic Breath. -
This is All His Fault!
Other Seminar Leaders and Participants from past symposia who might attend include:
Eric Block, Ph. D., Professor of Chemistry, SUNY, Albany, NY.
Fred Crowe, Ph. D., Oregon Staue U.
Bob Dunkel, The Garlic Seed Foundation, Stanley, NY.
Rich Hannan, Ph. D., Washington State U., Pullman, WA.
Lloyd John Harris, author of The Book of Garlic.
Barbara Hellier, USDA Curator of Garlic, Pullman, WA.
Maria Jenderek, Ph.D., USDA/True Garlic Seed Research, Parlier, CA.
Tony Lia, The Blue Note Jazz Supper Club, Las Vegas, NV.
Walt Lyons, Ph.D., Yucca Ridge Farm, Ft. Collins, CO.
Jeff Nekola, Ph.D., Biology Prof. U. of Wisc., Green Bay, WI.
Brenda Sanders, Hostess of Oklahoma Gardening, Stillwater, OK.
Phil Simon, Ph.D., Garlic Geneticist, Madison, WI.
David Stern, Garlic Seed Foundation, Rose, NY.
Gowsala P. Sivam, Ph.D., Lab. Dir., Bastyr University, Kenmore, WA
Louis & Marie Van Deven, Authors, Onions and Garlic Forever, Carrolton, IL.
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2003
All Day - Advanced Topics Speakers Forum, Registration fee $100
Morning Session - Speakers Forum.
1:00 PM - Gayle Volk, Ph. D., National Seed Storage Laboratory, Ft. Collins, CO
Dr. Volk has been doing research with Dr. Walt Lyons and they have found that garlic stored at a constant temperature of 27 degrees F is still eatable and viable to plant for up to a year. Gayle will also give a report on her DNA analysis of many garlic cultivars.
2:30 PM - Break
3:00 - Walter A. Lyons, Ph. D., of thegarlicstore.com
Walt will deliver a study co-authored with Dr. Gayle Volk entitled "Results from the 2003 Specialty Crop Growers Project with Colorado State University: Some new insights into Garlic Horticulture."
Friday, Oct. 31, 2003
All Day - Growers Conference, Registration fee $100
If you're a grower, or want to be, don't miss this discussion!
This is your chance to Listen, Ask Questions, Listen and Learn.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001
The price is $30.
Saturday, Nov. 3, 2001
Festival 9:00am to 4:00 pm (Open to Public - FREE Admission)
Oct. 30 thru Nov. 3, 2001
Your Host - Darrell Merrell
Please E-MAIL Bob Anderson if you have any questions about the Festival.
- Ramada Inn/Downtown Plaza,
17 West 7th Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74119
tel. (918) 585-5808
Toll-Free 1-800-585-5101 (Direct line to hotel.)
Special Rates: $55/night, plus tax - Please mention the Garlic is Life special rate and book your rooms early.
If you grow garlic, or are thinking about growing garlic, you owe it to yourself to sit in on the Growers Conference. Where else could you gain masterful insight from experienced growers, explore marketing and distribution options and develop lasting relationships with suppliers, growers and vendors?
Vendors will offer many kinds of garlic to choose from as well as a myriad selection of things that have to do with garlic. Meet with other interested people to discuss growing problems, storage, marketing opportunities, etc.
How to buy from us:
Scroll down and select the number of pounds you want and click on "Add to Cart" on all those you want to buy.
Order now for shipment in late summer/early fall 2012.
The garlic prices range from $16 to $24 per pound plus shipping and handling charges of $10 for the first pound, $2 for each of the next three pounds and $1 extra for each additional pound over that and we ship via U. S. Postal Service, Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, to make sure you get your package. Our S & H charge is a weighted national average so that all buyers pay the same S & H regardless of distance from grower. These S & H fees apply to each grower you buy from.
This Farmers market is like your local farmers market.
For those who don't want to take the time to place a separate order with each grower, we will do it for you if you wish. Just order what you want from as many growers as you want on a single order and when we process the order we will charge your card the necessary additional S & H charges plus a service fee of $10.00 for each separate grower involved - there's lot of clerical work involved.
Important notes for credit/debit card users:
This Farmers market is like your local farmers market.
For those who don't want to take the time to place a separate order with each grower, we will do it for you if you wish. Just order what you want from as many growers as you want on a single order and when we process the order we will charge your card the necessary additional S & H charges plus a service fee of $10.00 for each separate grower involved due to the excess clerical work entailed.
If you buy from a grower and later cancel that order for any reason, the credit card processing gateway still charges Gourmet Garlic Gardens the full processing fee plus an additional fee of the same amount for processing the cancellation and also it places an additional clerical burden on us so, regretably, we must charge a 15% cancellation fee when processing the cancellation because that's about what it costs us. My advice is to look around among the various growers and decide what to buy from whom and then place your orders and stick with the growers you have chosen.
Prices and availability of garlic subject to change without notice.
How Our Garlics are Grown
All the garlic for sale in our online farmers market was grown without the use of petrochemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers; only natural and non-toxic fertilizers and pest control methods are used.
Some of our growers are Certified Organic and some are Certified Naturally Grown, which we regard as equal to Certified Organic in every meaningful way but without all the bureaucratic entanglements. All our farmers market growers grow organically and some are Certified Organic but not all want to be certified Organic because of the paperwork and reporting requirements and are among the best available sources of sustainable/ organic Garlic and they become Certified Naturally Grown, where the regulation comes from their fellow members rather than a federal bureacracy.
We do not allow growers who use synthetic petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides to participate in our farmers market.
All garlic in our farmers market is grown in the USA, no imports allowed.
Garlicmeister, a self-inflicted title for amusement only.
Photo courtesy of Bill Yeates.
If you would like to
communicate with us, please send email to:
Gourmet Garlic Gardens,
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