“There is growing demand for organic commodities overall,” and that includes organic garlic, according to Gurdeep Billan, director of sales for Double D Farms in Coalinga, CA. “We are getting more and more demand” for organic garlic, and in response to that growing demand, “we have increased our acreage.”
Double D Farms grows its garlic “here in Central California, in the Coalinga-Huron area,” Mr. Billan said. “We primarily grow organic garlic” and “have definitely grown our overall acreage this year over last year, I would say, substantially.”
The key reason for that growth, he said, is to meet “the needs of our customers as organic garlic consumption continues to increase both domestically and export,” he said.
Increasing acreage in organic garlic takes longer than it would to accomplish a similar increase in conventional product because getting the ground certified for organic production is “a three-year process,” Mr. Billan said. It cannot be done on a whim in a single season but takes a longer-term commitment. “Our company has been committed to meet that need, and of course that takes a lot of time and effort to execute that plan,” he said.
“All of our garlic is run on a state-of-the-art packingline,” he said. “We have an alliance with Harris Fresh [in Coalinga] as far as our overall garlic production, with our focus being on organic and theirs being on conventional.”
All of Double D’s organic garlic is marketed under the “Double D Farms” logo, he said. “We are primarily packing in bulk this year,” but “do have the ability to pack in any customized packaging that our customers are requesting.”
The harvest season started around July 1, “and we will have garlic through December,” he said.
In conventional garlic production, China has been a major competitive factor in the market in recent years. “We’ve heard that from the conventional side,” Mr. Billan said. But with the organic garlic, “we haven’t felt the pressure that the conventional guys have felt. I think a key in that is that most organic consumers prefer domestically grown garlic over imports.”
And yet, Double D Farms is also enjoying increased demand for its organic garlic in export markets where California product also seems to be preferred by some buyers over other available choices. “There is growing demand for garlic for export into the Pacific Rim countries and that whole region,” and Double D exports garlic to places as far away as Australia, he said.