The story of where we began, what brought us to this farm and how garlic found
it's way into our lives.
How we take care of our land and the farming practices that we use to move into the future of our farm.
What we see down the road for our Farm and on farm business.
We were searching for a farm to call our own, in a 2 month period we drove over 15,000kms looking at many uninhabitable houses with no out buildings on the farms. A balanced farm is essential, a portion of woodland, good water and fertile soil. Finally we found a farm, and as a family made the decision to move to Grey County. Upon one of the many inspections we were walking the farm, I came across a very large boulder and climbed to the top of it. I said to my son that it was like Boars Rock lookout in Scotland, for Clan MacLaren which I have visited in the past. Boar's Rock was the rallying point for the Clan. At that very instant the farm became Boars Rock for the rallying point of our family farming future.
We have become a new steward of the land in our community of Grey Highlands (formerly Euphrasia Township). This property began with the Foy's on February 26th 1850, we are only the 3rd family to own and take care of this land. When we moved here there was a tenant farmer that had been looking after the farm, he is a very good steward of the land. We were not needing to use all of our 100 acres at the time, so we continued to lease some of our property to him. Personally we started small, with large vegetable gardens and chickens.
Our kids enjoyed working with the soil and enjoying the wonderful bounties of our own vegetables, and the best roast chicken dinners. It was approximately 2008 when I saw some garlic for sale, I had never grown garlic but I bought 5 bulbs and decided to give it a try. Planting 40 cloves in the fall wasn't that big of a deal, and truth be told I had forgotten about them until that Spring. It seemed all of a sudden they started bursting out of the ground with rapid growth, we harvested the tasty scapes June of 2009. In August we harvested our first garlic bulbs from the ground, they were the largest, most beautiful garlic I had ever seen. I gave one to Lorraine, much to her dismay for her garlic pickles, and planted the remaining of cloves that fall. My mind started spinning, 5 bulbs to 40 cloves, 38 bulbs to 304 cloves, 300 bulbs to 2400 cloves, 2300 bulbs to 18,400 cloves, it was soon going to be time to start selling garlic. But first, let's have 50,000 plants in the ground. That year was cold and wet summer, Mother Nature was not on our side and it spelled disaster for our garlic crop. The garlic grew wonderfully big but wet. I was not prepared for these circumstances and lost most of our harvest to poor drying conditions. We managed to salvage a small amount of garlic to sell and a small amount to start over our garlic crop.
Lorraine the innovator decided to take some of our garlic, dry it and turn it into powder. In my eyes this was a complete waste of time, but I guess I was wrong. Her garlic powder was a huge hit and loved by everyone who tried it. She kept being asked what she put in the powder that made it taste so delicious. Her response was always " nothing but our naturally grown Music Garlic, just pure music. This was the beginning of Lorraine's business "Pure Music Garlic". She has since expanded her line of products which is available on her website.
Pure Music Garlic Products is my wife's business venture. It uses our Certified Organic Music Garlic to produce the highest quality products for you to enjoy.
So back to our recovery after our garlic disaster of 2017, we had decided to expand our garlic growing part of the farm. Now it was decided to take a step in a better direction and focus on growing the best garlic possible. This lead us to becoming Certified Organic. I was raised to respect the soil and not abuse it with chemicals and other harmful practices. So my journey of learning more about the soil and the life that lives within it. Which has turned into a never ending process of research and information. I was constantly reading about garlic, soil and it's many fascinating properties. I started mingling in with some like minded people, joining Garlic Grower's Association of Ontario and the Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario, taking in the Garlic News Publication, essentially absorbing anything garlic. Who knew there were over 600 types of garlic! (I certainly didn't)
It just happened that I had bought a kind of garlic that works for me, that is Music. It is a wonderful species for our farm as it is well suited to Ontario. It grows well here, has good flavour and is successfully stored in our climate. I have started to dabble in experimenting with other species of garlic, but Music will always be our primary crop.
When we had 50,000 bulbs in the ground it was all about wholesale garlic, go big or go home. A tall tree that is cut hits that ground harder than a small one when knocked over. Now we are no longer wanting to have 100's of acres of garlic selling to large chain grocery stores. We want to have top of the line, premium garlic that our customers love, along with feeling good about knowing where it came from and how it was grown. Lorraine's business (Pure Music Garlic Products) adds value in expanding our farm business. A few acres of garlic is a lot for a family operation like ours, especially when you do it with care.
We try and focus on efficiency, we do this by investing in better productive equipment and invest in a Regenerative agriculture method for our future.
Our 1948 Allis Chalmers G is an essential part of our cultivation program. Yes it has 21st century Finger Weeders and in the future may even be adapted to electric. Life on the farm for us is making what is old is now new again. We don't wish to get too big, focus on selling our products locally at farmer's markets, garlic festivals and trade shows. But most of all enjoy what we are doing and be proud of it. Growing the best "healthy for you" garlic that we can produce that is great for ourselves, and beneficial to our customers.
If you would like to learn more about the Garlic Grower's Association of Ontario click the link below.
We would love to show you around and show you how we operate. We can just give you the tour, or if you'd like to get your hands dirty talk to us about a hands on experience.
Come and see us at different festivals and events this year!
• Perth Garlic Festival - August 8th & 9th 2020
• Haliburton Garlic Festival
• Verona Garlic Festival - September 5th 2020
• Stratford Garlic Festival -September 12th & 13th 2020
• Toronto Garlic Festival - September 20th 2020
Lorraine is constantly working on new product ideas and launching items that are all things garlic! Check out her website and subscribe so that you know when new products are available.
We are no longer wanting to have 100's of acres of garlic selling to large chain grocery stores. We want to have top of the line, premium garlic that our customers love, along with feeling good about knowing where it came from and how it was grown. We try and focus on efficiency, we do this by investing in better productive equipment and invest in a Regenerative agriculture method for our future.
We are very proud to be apart of "For the Love of Grey Barn Quilt Trail" and have two barn quilts on our barn and airplane hanger. Lorraine is the committee chair and very passionate about the project as a whole.