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Thursday, October 30, 2014


Tortuga Thursday
In 2012, on the plains of Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.
Garlic ready to plant
For the last two years we've planted a small section of garlic - just enough to supply our needs for canning Pirate Pickles and Relish. Our need to take the pickles and relish to the next level is stunted by lack of funding and resources. We need a commercial kitchen and storage facility. There are commercial kitchens that can be rented, but hauling hundreds of pounds of cucumbers, onions, garlic and herbs on a daily basis is not feasible. And cases and cases of jars. The cucumbers have to go on ice for several hours and that's an obstacle for hauling, too. So...we need an on site, county approved commercial kitchen in order to sell our products in stores and on line.

Getting back to the subject of garlic, we're planting much more this year. Much more is nearly 500 pounds of
nine different varieties. Producing and selling garlic does not require a commercial kitchen. In an effort to make an income from farming, garlic is our choice. When we can make enough, then we can build our commercial kitchen.

Although Lance has a knack for growing most everything he's tried, we don't want to try to compete with the established farmers in the area to sell a wide variety of crops. Gourmet garlic is a specialty crop. Not only is it widely used in all kinds of recipes, the health benefits of garlic are phenomenal and gaining attention. Organic, gourmet garlic is what we'll offer. No commercial kitchen needed, and we can sell everywhere.

This first year, we'll test these varieties to see which do the best in our soil. We'll keep enough of our seed stock for next year so there will be no expense for next year's crop other than soil nutrients. Over the next few months, while the garlic winters and establishes itself, we'll get the web site going and do our advance marketing.

Breaking apart 500 pounds of garlic has consumed us for two days - two boxes down and seven more to go. Sticking those little cloves into the ground will also be time intensive. Then they're covered in mulch and we wait for spring. I tested one variety while separating the cloves. Wow, as hot as our peppers. I never dreamed there were so many varieties with so many different tastes.

Next year, be lookin' for our Pirate Garrrrrrlic, matey!

And a couple of other happenings on the farm:
Lance taught me how to shoot a couple of guns. I'd never even held a gun. I thought it was time to learn about guns if I was going to write authentically about suspense and murder. Little did I know I'd enjoy it so much. Looks like I'll take up target shooting!

Sadi is growing faster than the weeds on Tortuga Flats. Here she is with her cousin Karly.


  1. Gourmet garlic--definitely sounds interesting and something most people would try! I admire your working spirit there on Tortuga Flats Farm. Best of luck with the new venture.

  2. Best wishes with your new endeavor! I know that Aldi's buys from small farmers - perhaps they may be a market for you. Or Sprouts?

    1. Yep, Ashantay. We'll be contacting all those kinds of grocers. Thanks.

  3. Seriously, I never knew there were different kinds of garlic. I always thought garlic was garlic. Learn something new every day. So how will you sell the garlic? Will you pickle it? Sell it whole? Chopped? Inquiring minds want to know. ;) Sadi IS getting big fast. Love reading the weekly post updates.

    1. We'll sell it whole. Our options are farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants and on line. We'll figure out the best way or maybe a little to them all.