Wicked Garlic, LLC
by Sabrina Mauro
February 22, 2023
"If you love it so much, why don’t you grow it?" That was a question posed to me by my husband, after proclaiming my love for garlic. I have always had a green thumb and have planted my own garden for over 10 years. I anxiously await springtime when I can plant my garden of vegetables, herbs and flowers. Gardening nourishes my soul and connects me to mother nature.
I had recently watched a show on Netflix that showed the darker side of the garlic industry, and I personally didn’t want to feed into the industry at its current state. I thought to myself, would I want to buy garlic from a local farmer that transports it in the back of their truck to local markets or from a unknown source; where it was possibly bleached and transported thousands of miles across the ocean, from a company with questionable labor practices? This question set me down the path to extensively research garlic, the different types, growing techniques, etc. My goal was to grow organic, quality garlic for our family, friends and to sell at local farmers markets.
I was amazed at the vast varieties of garlic, the differences between hard-neck and soft-neck garlic, the use of scapes (long, leafless flower stalks coming directly from the root), and organic gardening methods. In the spirit of keeping costs low, we built 10 raised beds from cedar trees that had fallen on a friends property. We purchased seed from certified organic growers, then in October 2020 planted the first seed and officially started our little garlic farm. The farm name, Wicked Garlic, popped in my head one day as a play on garlic warding off evil and the image of a scape looking like a devil’s tail (like in the photo below). A good friend of ours, Chris Ramirez, designed our logo and we were up and running.
We typically plant our crop in October. It’s a great time for northern Alabama due to milder temperatures, thus less sweat! At first, I was hesitant to grow a hard-neck type garlic due to my research stating its grown in more northern areas, but I proved them wrong. The hard-neck garlic we grew came out perfect! Each garlic tastes a little different and has different levels of spice. For 2023, we planted the following types of garlic past October:
Soft-neck: Silver White, Inchelium Red and Lorz Italian
Hard-neck: Chesnok Red, Music and German
Around June, once the stalks start to fall over, we get to pull up the crop. We bundle the garlic in bunches of five with the hay bale twine, then hang them in our detached garage for 2-3 weeks. After the garlic dries, we trim down the roots and stalks, lightly brush off the excess soil, and peel off 1-2 layers of the skin. Then it’s ready to eat! You can enjoy it sauteed with your favorite meal, in sauces, or eat small, raw bits to really enjoy its true taste and goodness.
Who knew this humble food would become my passion, life and evolve into a small business. Later in the summer, you can find us at farmers markets in the Huntsville area or contact us through email, Facebook, Instagram or Sweet Grown Alabama.org. We strive to provide great local, organic garlic to the area and share with everyone this delicious gift from the ground.