Skip to comments.Garlic Supply Plentiful in Gilroy, But Not Farmers
Posted on 07/29/2007 12:48:40 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
That savory, aromatic, delicious garlic that you lavish on your fries, steak and everything else? There's plenty of that.
But garlic farmers in the self-proclaimed Garlic Capital of the World? They're almost extinct.
As the Gilroy Garlic Festival kicks off today, only three growers in Santa Clara County have survived the disease, land-use pressure and brutal economics of the industry.
Louie Bonino is one of them. But Bonino, whose LJB Farms has grown garlic in San Martin for more than 30 years, isn't sure he can hold out much longer.
"It's not very profitable anymore in agriculture here in South County," he said. "We just barely make it. Just getting by."
Bonino's farm has mirrored the perils that small farmers in the county have faced in the last 20 years. Where he once grew nearly 40 acres of garlic, his acreage is now 10. Where he could once hire as many as 150 workers to help at harvest time, he now hires around 40.
Similarly, the county's overall garlic production has taken a nose dive, as economic pressures have squeezed production east, to the San Joaquin Valley, and west, to China.
The county flexed its garlic production muscle in the early 1990s, harvesting as much as 400 acres, but the flow has slowed to a trickle. Last year, the three local garlic farmers harvested only 67 acres.
The explanation, farmers said, comes down to one word: cost.
The exodus of garlic production to China surprises few these days: Most understand that Chinese producers pay workers less, can cultivate more land and face fewer governmental standards......
(Excerpt) Read more at mercurynews.com ...
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Anyone make it to the GGF this year? We couldn't. < |:(~
Never been, we get a whiff of them every year, this year not too bad.. some years, your eyes almost burn. :-) and we’re a good 20 miles away.
Those damn Chinese vampires!
I love garlic and onions; but you really have to hold your nose at times going through Gilroy and never go around a tomato processing plant. Boy does that stink.
“It’s not very profitable anymore in agriculture here in South County,” he said. “We just barely make it. Just getting by.”
That’s because the big corporations have come in and squeezed the little guys out or even the big independent guys.
You go through Fresno and see that it is dominated by big corporations now.
What are the starving hordes of Chinese people eating if they are exporting all their garlic, apples, apple juice, wheat gluten, etc to us?
I had to give up garlic farming. For some reason I could never get a date.
When traveling through the Death Valley area consider visiting beautiful China Ranch, near Tecopa California. China Ranch is a family owned and operated small farm, a lush piece of greenery amidst the forbidding Mojave Desert near Southern Death Valley. Imagine towering cottonwoods and willows by a wandering stream, date palms and abundant wildlife, all hidden away in some of the most spectacular scenery the desert has to offer.
The aroma from spice processing plants was nearly overwhelming!
It’s possible to navigate an airplane sometimes by odor. They don’t teach that in ground school. I bet there’s parts of NJ that could be navigated that way too.
Then - success: got too big, too crowded, too commercialized.
I always stop and pick up a bottle of Garlic Wine if I'm driving through the area. Served ultra-chilled, it's unbeatable with Pizza or Pasta.
Just make sure, in self-defense, EVERYBODY drinks some!!
Meanwhile "progressive" (I know; it's newspeak) California cannot fix the potholes in its roads.
LJB farms is worth a visit. Lots of nice produce, good prices, it’s on my list of farm tour stops.
There’s a mushroom farm out in that neck of the woods. If you like button mushrooms fresh out of the cave, like I do, it’s definitely worth a stop.
My ex-partner was one of the largest garlic farmers in the Gilroy/Hollister area 25 or 30 years ago. He and most of the others stopped raising garlic for one simple reason: disease. That’s the main reason production shifted over to the Central Valley.
Besides, as he told me many years ago, he was going to start farming houses.
That's funny that I just read this. I can smell it wafting through the windows in the morning breeze right now.
I can smell the garlic this morning!!!
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