Monday, September 10, 2012

Angry Seed

How should a vegetable be handled when you are selling it for $18 a pound, plus shipping? Think about those peaches in their foam trays in winter time -they're much less than eighteen a pound. So imagine how angry I became when I arrived home after work to find my first shipment of garlic seed for the new field looking like it was packed by a dog, using only his teeth. I knew something was wrong because I smelled the sulfuric sweetness of a rotting clove before I opened the box.

In advertising, image is everything. But in sales, good product is. So when a long time farmer advertises how wonderful their crop came in this year, I must question their sincerity when their product looks like this. Honestly, I can buy better looking food-quality garlic for ten bucks a pound from a local farmer, so why would you even let this out your barn door?

About 40% of the bulbs had little to no wrappers and had cloves that were gouged. Seed garlic doesn't need to be pretty, but it must maintain its integrity. The hard stems of these porcelain bulbs were cut at an angle, each one a dagger into nearby fleshy cloves. Once a clove is gouged, it is as good as garbage and should not be planted. If you are a high-priced seed retailer, why would you allow your precious commodity be damaged by hard stems and poor packing? And worse -they charged me double for shipping, yet shipped both orders in a single flat rate box. 

I was immediately concerned by the packing material -loose garlic wrappers. Were they from my bulbs? How did this box jostle so much that all the wrappers fell off? Is that why the bulbs were so gouged -too much jostle? The second order came in a mesh bag, but the bulbs looked similarly ragged. 

This bulb was the smeller. Dessicated, rotting. $18 dollars a pound for rot? Incidentally, there are about 5-6 bulbs in these pounds, so one bulb is about 3 dollars.



 Small, half-bulbs?


And so a very negative email was delivered by the Google Pony Express. I seriously cannot understand how they let this out their door. I hope they can't understand it, either.

UPDATE: I received an email explaining my package: a new picker combined with a rushed packing job by the farmer. Also, they had cut the stems taller this year because last year people apparently had a hard time cracking the bulbs. The bias cut of these longer stems and an overstuffed box was just a bad idea. I sent 54 bulbs out of 79 back to the farmer. I was a little hasty, because they emailed me later this morning (they are on the west coast) asking me not to send any back. Although, I know I can't eat that much garlic between now and when, I probably could have salvaged some cloves for planting. I hope those they send in return will be packed better, and well-sized.


  1. wow, i hope they make it right.

    1. It appears they will. Just hope new ones are better.

  2. Yikes. I am sorry about your garlic. But it is nice to learn this much about...garlic.

    1. Looks like they'll replace, but not sure how great the replacement will be.
      Just wait to the DAF.

  3. We made our first Hudson Clove meal last night--roasted a head and had garlic bean pasta. It was wonderful, and I can't wait to use the rest. Thanks!

  4. Artichoke. Can't wait to tuck into another. Having the varieties to chose from is really neat!


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