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There is really only one thing that separates seed garlic and culinary garlic – size. The flavor and growing habits for these two types of garlic are identical.
Garlic farmers grow select varieties and at harvest time make the determination as to what qualifies as seed vs culinary garlic. The biggest heads produce larger cloves; these are ideal for planting next year's crop. They qualify as seed garlic.
Our seed bulbs are measured at 2.5” or more (big!) and culinary bulbs measure a nice 1.50-2.25”.
Other sellers often fail to note what size bulbs they deliver, as if this doesn't matter. Really? (Sad discovery - the biggest garlic wholesaler in the country sells culinary size bulbs as "seed".)
Be smart - know what you're getting.
Seed garlic is the cream of the crop and is a bit more expensive. Rest assured that a dollar or two more up front for quality seed can translate to a world of difference in growing results.
How are sizes determined? There are two simple methods; either using a wooden board with drilled holes that determine size (left) or incremental markings along the edge of a table against which each bulb is measured.
The medium heads, culinary garlic, are outstanding for fresh cooking and make your favorite dishes sing with flavor. These bulbs also offer the opportunity to conduct your own taste tests before deciding what varieties to add to your garden for next year's kitchen use.
Culinary bulbs are similar to grocery store garlic in size, but not flavor.
Grocery store garlic is bred, in large part, for long shelf life, not rich, complex, zippy flavor. The white skinned produce-department bulbs last, but pale when it comes to taste.
To make sure you get great garlic, and your money's worth, we've recently partnered with a Northwest grower that produces some of the biggest, most beautiful garlic heads found anywhere.
The farm is a small, family affair. The land and farming practices have earn certification as Naturally Grown and are in the process of becoming organically certified. (It can be a long, hoop-filled process.) The farmers are warm hearted, hard working souls with a huge community spirit - just the type of folks you'd want to know and support.
Now you know the diference between seed and culinary garlic. The next step is to choose a variety or two. Or three. Or just select a sampler pack and make it easy on yourself.
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