Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vendor Profile: Greenthumb Garlic

Garlic is a kitchen staple for me. Aside from the health claims that it's good for curing colds, acts as an antiseptic and many other uses in herbal medicines, it adds great flavor and depth to almost any dish. I put a clove or two in virtually every vegetable saute that I make, whether a morning egg scramble, part of the base of a soup, a quick saute of greens with dinner. It's also a farm productthat a lot of people don't realize has as many varieties and flavor profiles as any other plant like basil or beans. Our regular supermarkets often only have one pile of white-papery skinned bulbs to grab from mindlessly as we walk by on our way to more "interesting" items. Ah, but here is one benefit to shopping at a farmers market.
Greenthumb Garlic grows 10 cultivars of garlic as well as scapes and green garlic. Their website lists the varieties and profiles of each. So branch out a little and sample some new garlic this weekend.

And if you love
garlic as much as I do, maybe you want to check out the Worlds 13th Annual Garlic Festival in North Plains Augu
st 6th - 8th. Anyone up for garlic ice cream?


Rowan and Katie here with Greenthumb Garlic. We're excited that you're doing the MFM blog and we look forward to reading about all the other great vendors who will be at the market.
The following are our answers to your questions:

1) What types of products do you specialize in?
We grow a diversity of garlic cultivars, emphasizing a gourmet, high-quality product.

2) What are your biggest challenges in operating a farm/business? And what makes it all worth it?
Biggest challenge is to balance Greenthumb Garlic with everything else in our lives. Katie is also a full-time farmer at one of Portland's most prominent CSAs - 47th Ave. Farm. Rowan is an Urban and Regional Planning graduate student at PSU examining sustainable regional food systems. He also interns at the Bureau of Environmental Services helping to manage a grant program for community directed watershed improvements.

What makes it all worth while is the benefits of an agriculture-based lifestyle: good food, strong community, physical activity, and a relationship with the land and natural processes.

3) What food policy issues do you think are critical to the future of agriculture in Oregon?
Lowering the barriers for new farmers. In particular, creating an incubator program to help bridge the gap between apprenticeship and stewardship (I'm actually researching this right now and have lots of ideas on it. I'd be happy to share a more detailed vision if you're interested).

4) Why do you chose Montavilla Farmers Market to sell your products?
We believe the Montavilla community will be interested in our product; it's only a mile or so from our home; and we believe that it's appropriate for a young market and young farmers to grow together.

5) Do you have a favorite cookbook that you cook from?
We typically freestyle when we cook, but we do refer to the following:
Garlic, Garlic, Garlic; Nourishing Traditions; Farmer John's Cookbook; and anything Moosewood

6) What food/agriculture related book, magazine or movie would you recommend?
Hmm, there's so many that it really depends on who I'm recommending to. Small Farms Journal is great for people interested in small-scale ag production. Growing Great Garlic is a must for anyone interested in, well, growing great garlic. I would highly recommend A Garlic Testament by Stanley Crawford (think Edward Abbey as a garlic farmer). I also really like Michael Ableman and Wendell Berry (of course!).


Rowan & Katie

Greenthumb Garlic LLC

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