[Market-farming] Chinese garlic

Blue Moon Farm bluemoon at iclub.org
Mon Feb 21 12:41:32 EST 2005

Chinese garlic has presented problems for U.S. and Canadian growers for some time, now.  Several years ago, Canada enacted a tariff on Chinese garlic for the months that Canadian-grown was most likely to be available.  The Chinese response?  Dump tons on Canada in the days just before the tariff becomes effective each year.
The U.S. has a 266% tariff on Chinese garlic to protect American growers.  The Chinese response?
Tons of Chinese garlic come into Mexico, and through the miracle of false labeling becomes Mexican garlic, which can then, under the NAFTA aggreement, come across the Mexican-U.S. border tariff free.  How else to explain the low prices seen in the market.  Any one who has raised garlic knows you can't buy decent seed, tend it well, cure it and clean it, and then sell it for .25 a head and stay in business, regardless of what your economy of scale is.  
Our customers willingly support our business because they understand the importance of sustainablity in growing methods, and a part of sustainabililty is localness, whenever possible, and a living wage for the grower.  For people who shop cost over quality, then Sam's Club is where to get your garlic.  When you find out it sucks, remember you get what you pay for.  If you subscribe to David Stern's axiom, "Cheap food ain't good and good food ain't cheap," then seek out local growers at your Farmer's Market, find out what they grow and why and pick out your favorite.  As the long nights of winter approach, buy a braid or two to get you through until the 1st green garlic of spring announces that winter has been survived again.  David, as the Director of the Garlic Seed Foundation, has mentored many of us small U.S. and Canadian local garlic growers, and labored long and hard to get us a fair shake.  He also  encourages and supports scientific research designed to learn what characteristics distinguish varieties of garlic and what varieties do best where.  I know he would welcome your inquiries and support.  www.garlicseedfoundation.info
Leo Keene Zone 6
Blue Moon Farm
Sustainably Grown Garlic
3585 Poosey Ridge Road
Richmond, KY  40475
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