“We offer garlic in a variety of forms, whole bulb, peeled, diced, VakPak, frozen, and shelf stable puree form,” said Michael Layous, sales and marketing representative for The Garlic Co., a grower, packer and shipper headquartered in Bakersfield, CA. “And all these forms can be made with organic product. We have offered an organic line for more than 15 years.”
The majority of its organic garlic is sold in peeled and whole bulb form, which is also the case with its conventional line. Its garlic is produced in Kern County, CA. The Garlic Co.’s primary customer base is foodservice and industrial operations, and it distributes nationwide.
Layous said that the company was in “the meat” of its 2013 California harvest season in late August.
“Our harvest should be completed sometime around the middle of September,” he said. “The crop looks average to above average, and the quality is good. Between us and the other California garlic growers there should be an ample supply of California garlic in the marketplace for the 2013 crop year.”
Once the harvest is finished, The Garlic Co. takes a couple of weeks to assess the crop. It then gets right into its seed planting season in preparation for the 2014 crop, which will begin harvesting 10 months from now.
China’s 2013 crop started arriving in the U.S. marketplace in July. Layous said that it is being reported that China’s yields are up by between 20 and 30 percent from the previous few years.
“Despite the presence of the new Chinese crop in the marketplace, demand and selling prices of California garlic have not been affected to any great extent so far,” he said. “However, this doesn’t mean that the California garlic market won’t be impacted in the coming months.”
“For whatever reason, in previous years we have observed that the effect of the Chinese crop is not often felt until late September or early October,” Layous continued. “Around that time this year we’ll have a much better sense of how the 2013 California garlic market will fare.”
He added that, to say the least, overall the next few months should be interesting as the market plays itself out.
The Garlic Co. had just finished packing its 2013 conventional early garlic in late August. Layous said that the packouts looked good.
“We’ve now turned to packing our 2013 early organic,” he said. “This should be completed within a few weeks. The interest in our organic products continues to increase, especially whole bulbs destined for retail, and organic pureed garlic, which is included in our industrial product line.”
The demand for the company’s peeled California garlic remains strong. Layous said that it has observed some modest growth with its existing foodservice customers.
“As the popularity of ethnic, healthy cuisines has continued to rise, the desire for garlic has only increased,” he said. “It is becoming more of a staple in America’s cooking.”
In late July, The Garlic Co. completed its annual Global Food Safety Initiative/British Retail Consortium audit, commonly referred to as GFSI/BRC.
“We successfully passed with an A grade, further affirming that we continue to follow the best processing practices,” said Layous. “In turn, this assures our customers that they are receiving consistent, quality California garlic products.”