The Garlic Farmer, Mark Botwright, started his business with just two cloves and now presides over a field of more than a million bulbs. Lisa Jenkins reports
Mark Botwright, his wife Wendy and son Jack live on the South West Garlic Farm, 65 acres of remote farmland in Chilfrome in Dorchester, Dorset.
Ten years on, the South West Garlic Farm is on track to be the biggest Elephant garlic farm in Europe, with a million bulbs in the ground.
After harvest, around the end of June, the farm sells fresh and dried Elephant garlic alongside a range of other niche products. Garlic scapes are a bestseller. These are the shoots of the garlic harvested a few weeks before the bulbs themselves are pulled from the ground, at around 12 inches in length.
The farm also grows Morado and Iberian hardneck garlic for their bulbs and scapes, and there are plans to sell the immature plants.
Black garlic is another speciality, and is based on an ancient Korean method of preserving the garlic, which involves slow-cooking the bulbs for 45-50 days. Other products include black garlic sugar, black garlic salt and wild garlic salt, Chinese artichokes and yams, and they also sell online.
Chefs such as Mark Hix and Yotam Ottolenghi are big fans, and social media has been the key to the success of the South West Garlic Company, says Botwright: "We wouldn't be here without it." Wendy and Mark communicate directly with chefs, deli owners, wholesalers and markets, including London's New Covent Garden Market.
South West Garlic Farm
01300 748624 or 07745 105955
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