Handsome Jack’s Local Garlic

Photo Karen Graham.
Pictured is Tammy Wood of Handsome Jack’s Farm and Country Market with a table loaded with her first crop of Music garlic at last week’s Millbrook Farmers’ Market.

New Millbrook Market Vendor, Tammy Wood, of Handsome Jack’s Farm bears a calm demeanor is remarkable given the age of this venture.

Tammy and her partner Dave purchased their farm just last September, after a long search for a place to grow their crop of choice: garlic.  The soil on this property located on Farmers’ Road on the way to Pontypool was sandy loam, which is ideal for this crop.  A few weeks after purchasing the property, the couple was out planting.  There was a planter to sit on but the garlic heads are “cracked” by hand to separate the individual cloves and the actual planting was also done by hand.  Together the pair covered two acres with garlic last fall.

This spring Tammy left her office management job to devote her efforts to the farm full time.  Dave grew up on a farm but for Tamm, this was a new experience.  At first she missed people, but once markets began to open customers provided some social contact.  She is also developing wholesale customers and has joined the Garlic Growers’ Association.

The couple grows hard neck Music garlic, fresh scapes in season and seed garlic.  It is sold at their farm, at Farmer’s markets including the monthly Millbrook market and is distributed through wholesalers.  It can be found on the shelves of the Millbrook Foodland.  This variety is the traditional type grown in Ontario and is recognized by its stiff, woody stem running through the centre of the bulb.  Beneath the paper skin lies four to seven cloves with a rich, smooth garlic flavour.

If properly stored, bulbs can keep for up to ten months.  Theirs is currently hanging in the barn but will move into the garage before the weather freezes.  Before that, some will be used in fall planting, which the couple hopes to expand to three to four acres.  Tammy assures me there will be more mechanization in the process this fall.

She has also signed up for the Garlic Growers’ Clean Seed program,  which uses seeds from the tips of garlic scapes to propagate virus-free planting stock and develop guidelines for clean seed production, so there will be seeds to plant in a segregated area, which will take two growing seasons to develop into a useable crop.

Handsome Jack’s Farm & Country Market is a family owned and operated farm business specializing in the production and marketing of gourmet music garlic and related products.  They also offer farm tours, seminars and nature walks.  Visitors are asked to call or email in advance and their product is available at the farm or they can arrange delivery. To arrange a visit, call 705-868-9032 or email tammy@handsomejacks.ca.

So who is Jack, the handsome one?  The name was originally selected in honour of Dave’s late father, but now it brings to mind their grandson.  Either way, it’s a nice family tribute to a new family venture.


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