Do you love garlic? I do.

Think of all the ways you eat garlic. Garlic salt, powder, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

If you’re anything like me, you put it in almost every dish!

That said, the average American consumes more than 2 pounds of garlic per year.

However, most of the garlic the average American eats is not American garlic.

Top 3 Reasons You Should Only Eat Garlic Grown in the USA

1. Superior Health Benefits

Did you know garlic is another powerful superfood?

We love our superfoods at Oak Spring Farm. Garlic has been used around the world for centuries for cooking and its effective medicinal properties.

It’s high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and many other trace minerals that are vital for healthy immune function.

The compound found in garlic, allicin, is what gives it its flavor and antioxidant punch. In addition, garlic has been shown to:

  • Reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduce LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol
  • Improve the immune system
  • Remove parasites from the GI tract
  • Work as a natural antibiotic in all areas of the body
  • Keeps you safe from vampires and sometimes unruly teenagers

I use it all the time minced in salad dressings, soups, and chili, chopped in tomato sauce, salsa, and marinades. I love roasting whole cloves in my veggie sheet pan meals and coating pork butts and roaster chicken with thick garlic and herb paste.

2. Safety and Quality Concerns with Imported Garlic

Years ago, when I was shopping for garlic in the winter, I noticed that most garlic in the grocery store was coming from China. Knowing about other countries’ agricultural practices and soil pollution, I became concerned.

Other countries produce about 75 percent of the world’s supply of garlic. In 2021, the US imported approximately 225 million pounds of garlic, both fresh and dried. It is estimated that the FDA catches about 2 percent of imported hazardous produce before it makes its way into the USA.

In the United States, around 80% of garlic comes from China, and most of the rest is California-grown.

Garlic from China is of questionable safety: China uses many pesticides illegal to use in the US.

Imported garlic is often grown in sewage water, and human sewage is specifically used as a plentiful and cheap fertilizer.

That’s right. POOP. China grows garlic in people poop.

It is then sprayed with chemicals to prevent sprouting, bleached with chlorine to make it look white, and, by law, fumigated with methyl bromide.

High doses of methyl bromide can cause respiratory and central nervous system damage and, according to the UN, it’s 60 times more dangerous than chlorine.

3. Support Local Farmers and Sustainable Practices

By choosing American-grown garlic, you are supporting local farmers and sustainable agricultural practices.

At Oak Spring Farm, we take pride in growing garlic that is not only delicious but also safe and healthy for you and your family.

Our garlic is ALWAYS grown using sustainable methods, without harmful pesticides or fertilizers.

When you buy local, you are also helping to reduce the carbon footprint associated with transporting food long distances.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between US-Grown Garlic and Imported Chinese-Grown Garlic?

Here are a few tips to help you identify the source of your garlic:

  • Look for Roots: It is required by the FDA that all roots be removed from imported produce to prevent soil-borne pathogens from entering the US. Garlic from the US often has roots attached, while imported garlic has them removed.
  • Lack of Soil Stains: It is completely natural for garlic to have soil stains. Imported garlic is heavily bleached to remove soil stains and has an unnaturally white color.
  • Check the Label: Look for labels indicating the origin of the garlic. US-grown garlic will often be labeled as such.
  • Feel the Bulb: American garlic tends to be heavier and denser compared to the lighter, less firm imported garlic where the water has evaporated.
  • Taste. Imported garlic has a more metallic and bitter taste due to a lower concentration of allicin and higher concentration of chemicals and heavy metals.

Make the switch to locally-grown, American garlic and enjoy the benefits of this incredible superfood while supporting sustainable farming practices. Thank you for choosing Oak Spring Farm, and happy eating!

This is a picture of garlic grown in the US. It has roots:

Oak Spring Farm garlic

If the bottom of a garlic bulb has a bare, concave surface where roots would naturally be, it is most likely imported. This is a picture of imported garlic…

imported garlic from China

One More Identifier of American Garlic:

Sprouting. Garlic bulbs naturally sprout and will sometimes grow little green shoots. Again, the heavy bleaching of imported garlic will kill the garlic and prevent this from occurring. If shoots are coming from the top of the bulb, you are good to go.

Buy American Grown, Better Yet, Buy Local Garlic

Better yet buy Oak Spring Farm garlic. See our tips and tricks below for long-term storage and how to keep it fresh.

One of our big Fall crops to plant is garlic.

Our shipment of Certified seed garlic arrives from Fraser Farms in New York in September. We unboxed it to let it breathe and will break apart all the heads into cloves the week before planting, the beginning of November.

It gets mulched with leaves and or straw and covered with insect netting (yes, that’s a lot of netting) to keep the Allim Leaf Miner from destroying it and then harvested around the fourth of July. This year we harvested it July 1st.

And don’t forget the delicious garlic scape bonus in early to mid-June!.

All in all we feel REALLY good about growing garlic for you.

It is becoming increasingly important to know where your food comes from.

RECIPE for Roasted garlic

Rub a whole head of garlic with olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil, and roast it in the oven (a toaster oven works great) at 350F for about 30-40 minutes. Easily squeeze out the garlic ‘paste’ from the cloves.

Roasted garlic is great in sauces when you want a milder garlic flavor with delicious depth.

Roasted garlic is great in hummus or on its own pureed with olive oil and salt as a super chic bread spread 😉

Here are three top tips for storing your garlic to keep it fresh for as long as possible:
  1. Keep it cool and dry: Store your garlic in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. A mesh bag or a paper bag works well.
  2. Avoid refrigeration: Storing garlic in the fridge can cause it to sprout. Instead, keep it at room temperature.
  3. Use within a few months: While cured garlic can last several months, it’s best to use it within a few months for optimal flavor and freshness.

To store it longer, here’s what I do: I mince it (either by hand or with a mini food processor), cover it in olive oil, and freeze it. I freeze it in either:

  • Silicon ice cube trays, pop them out, and then store them in freezer bags, or
  • Glass half-pint jars with lids.

This way, I always have a jar of organic OSF garlic ready to go for all my cooking. I still have one jar left from last season!