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The Garlic Company transitioning from Mexico to California for organic garlic

On Aug. 24, Bob Lords, fresh and foodservice sales manager for The Garlic Company in Bakersfield, CA, said that the company continues to offer both fresh whole-bulb and peeled organic garlic.

“We are currently finishing up with our Mexico organic garlic and starting with our California crop,” he said. “These are the two areas where we grow organic garlic.”

Mr. Lords said that the organic demand seems to be growing a little every year at retail as well as at the ingredient level.

“We’re doing more peeled organic garlic for food-ingredient companies than we do whole-bulb product,” he said. “The organic prepared-foods category is also feeling the demand for organic garlic.”

The company introduced organic peeled garlic in a “VakPak” last year, and Mr. Lords said that the product is being received well at retail.

“The ‘VakPak’ is a 3-ounce vacuum-sealed bag,” he said. “Consumers can open just the amount they need for a recipe and the remainder stays fresh. We’re also offering a conventional diced-garlic item in the ‘VakPak’ package that is growing in popularity. Both items are starting to draw more attention at retail.”

Mr. Lords noted that both conventional and organic garlic supplies have been tight in the last year. Supply and demand has caused conventional prices to increase.

“There is consequently less of a gap between organic and conventional prices compared to years past,” he said. “Retailers are committed to their organic category, and I don’t see this changing in the future.”

The company sells its organic garlic through distributors and wholesalers who, in turn, sell to retailers and others. It ships across the country, and most of its product remains in the United States. It uses “The Garlic Company” label on its products.

Besides organic and conventional garlic, its extended product line includes elephant garlic, whole shallots, peeled shallots, whole Cipolline gourmet onions, pearl onions and chopped ginger.

“We’ve added a new peeling line this year,” said Mr. Lords. “And we are in the midst of breaking ground on a new packingline for peeled products. We will also complete a new cold storage at our facility in the next month.”

The Garlic Company is a grower-shipper-packer that distributes nationwide. It has handled organic garlic for 12 years, and its customer bank includes retailers, wholesalers, distributors, foodservice operators and industrial clients.

Despite the current economic state in the United States, Mr. Lords said that the organic category continues to grow.

“Organics are not a big part of our overall garlic program, but the category seems to increase every year,” he said. “Our overall company sales are growing each year as well.”

Mr. Lords added that the locally grown movement has an effect on the organic trend. “I have been asked to provide mileage from our field to our customer’s door,” he said. “The vast majority of domestic organic garlic is grown in California and is not readily available from other states.”