Why Ottawa Garlic

The History of Garlic and why you should buy Ottawa Garlic.

Garlic’s history dates back over 10,000 years where it is thought to have originated in central Asia. Today, these regions are now known as The Stan’s (Afghanistan, Kazahkstan, Uzbekistan, etc) borderinng the Caspian Sea, Himalayan China, Afghanistan and Russia. As humans continued to move west and colonized Europe, they brought with them this ancient alluvium.

While todays local garlic has been brought over from Europe, usually bearing its regions names, it’s easy to forget the true origins and rich history of this beloved vegetable.

Most Canadians, aren’t aware that garlic can survive our harsh climate. They are partially correct. One genus of garlic, softneck garlic, typically only thrives in mild winters and hot summers. However, the bulk of the garlic grown in Ontario is hardneck garlic. Hardneck garlic thrives in climates with harsh winters and  hot summer.

Ontario garlic is planted in the fall so that it can germinate over the cold winter months. It then sprouts in April once the ground thaws. It is said that hardneck garlic that is “stressed” by the elements, without impeding growth or nutrients, possesses the most flavor. In other words, stressed garlic is delicious garlic. The climate in the Ottawa Valley is extreme. With -30 Celsius winters and 40 Celsius summers with ideal precipitation amounts, Ottawa is a prime location for stressed and tasty garlic.

Geologically speaking, the Ottawa Valley was once covered by Champlain Sea around 10,000 year ago which was formed by the receding (melting) Laurentide ice sheet. It’s melt waters brought with it minerals and nutrients from terranes all over Northern Ontario and Quebec and deposited them in great concentration in the Ottawa Valley. 

It’s for this reason that Garlic from the Ottawa Valley is some of the tastiest garlic, anywhere, period.