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Garlic Co. seeing growth in consumer bags, but bulk still common at retail

“Contrary to popular belief, Gilroy isn’t the capital of garlic production here in the Golden State (though they have a great garlic festival!) — most California garlic is grown in the Central Valley, not far from where The Garlic Company is located.” So states the web site of The Garlic Co. in Bakersfield, CA.

“Multiple studies have proven that California garlic tastes better than any other garlic,” according to the web site. The warm climate and “rich, fertile Central Valley fields creates the perfect growing conditions for garlic.” Most California garlic “is grown in the Central Valley, not far from where The Garlic Company is located.” Therefore, the company’s location in the Central Valley places close to its own fields, as well as to “the majority of garlic grown in California.”

“We grow predominantly late garlic” and “have just begun to harvest” the new crop of late garlic, said John Layous, a partner with Joe Lane in The Garlic Co. in an interview with The Produce News July 19. the crop “looks normal and good,” he said. The company’s acreage is “very similar” to last year.

The Garlic Co. offers garlic in whole fresh form as well as in peeled form.

The company markets its whole fresh bulbs mainly to retail and wholesale markets, while the peeled garlic goes to “all of the different categories” — industrial, foodservice and retail.

In whole bulb sales at retail, “a lot of it is still bulk,” Mr. Layous said. But he has seen a growth in certain bag sizes.

The company offers its whole fresh garlic in an assortment of pack styles ranging from half-pound bags to 30-pound “and just about everything in between,” he said.

With regard to packaging trends, “at the club stores, the two and three-pound bags have been popular.” The one-pound bag can be seen in retail stores, he said. “Not every place, but we see it. And we are trying to push a half-pound bag, a smaller amount of garlic, and see if that isn’t more suitable for your regular every-day supermarket.”

That effort has met with “some success, but not as much as I would like,” he said.

In addition to whole and peeled form, The Garlic Co. does processed garlic but not for the retail trade, he said. “We do a lot of different processing,” including various formulations of purees and various cut sizes, but those are primarily for industrial use and are offered in large containers such as pails and drums.