Gourmet garlic growers always end up with harvested garlic bulbs that are not quite good enough for fresh sales to consumers. The bulbs may have cosmetic defects, or you may have an occasional surplus of smaller bulbs. One of the best ways to turn those garlic bulbs into profits is to make value-added products that can will keep until sold.
Growers have several ways to boost their income from garlic by processing the harvested cloves, adding garlic to other products, or creating new value-added products. By taking a few simple additional steps, they can turn their harvested garlic from a simple food item to valuable products that can bring top dollar from consumers and double, even triple profits.
For example, the market for gourmet foods, like garlic chutney or garlic vinegar, is growing fast, as more and more consumers are choosing to buy locally-produced foods instead of mass-processed foods shipped in from thousands of miles away. Here are eight value-added products proven to be in demand by gourmet garlic growers around the U.S:
1. Braided garlic.
Although most of your customers at the farmer’s market will buy garlic bulbs, quite a few love the artistic look of garlic braids, and will pay the premium price for them. Be sure to braid several sizes, from as few as 5 bulbs, to longer braids of 8 to 20 bulbs, so there’s a size and a price for every shopper.
2. Garlic scapes.
Because garlic scapes are only available once a year, you will have a line of customers at the farmer’s market clamoring to buy yours. Since these false seedheads must be trimmed to encourage bulb growth, why not make some money on what otherwise would go to waste. These delicious greens, with just a hint of garlic flavor, are also popular with restaurant chefs.
3. Gourmet garlic powder.
Once you’ve tasted the superior flavor of real home-made garlic powder, you’ll never want to buy the mass-produced product at the supermarket. Making it is a simple process – the only expensive piece of equipment needed is a sturdy food dehydrator. Homemade garlic powder has a superior flavor, a much higher allicin content (allicin is the health-enhancing ingredient found in garlic) and is free of the unhealthy contaminants often found in commercial garlic powders.
4. Pickled garlic.
Americans have a long way to go before they catch up to the pickled garlic consumption of Koreans, currently about 60 pounds a year! But home-made pickled garlic is always a popular seller at the farmer’s market, and easy to make. This is a great way to use the small cloves that may not have sold fresh, as their smaller size allows the flavor of your pickling solution to be fully absorbed in each clove.
5. Garlic pesto sauce.
Freshly made garlic pesto sauce is another simple to make, easy to sell food product. A California grower makes it fresh every week, using the garlic and herbs grown in her market garden. She distributes it to food stores in the San Francisco area, and direct to consumers at two area farmer’s markets. Gourmet cooks love it, and are willing to pay a premium price for convenience.
6. Garlic vinegars.
Flavored vinegars are hot. You’ll see trendy chefs on all the Food TV shows using their favorite vinegar, and of course, in all the cooking magazines. But have you priced them? Champagne is cheaper! That’s why it makes sense for garlic growers to make a few bottles of this gourmet product, using a few simple ingredients, and put them along side your gourmet garlic bulbs at the next farmer’s market.
7. Garlic jelly.
At first, most folks are hesitant to try garlic jelly. That’s why you must do samples with crackers at the farmer market. Once they try this unique combination of “sweet and heat,” it’s love at first bite, and most will want to take a jar home with them. At the garlicstore.com, their garlic-pepper jelly is one of the top three best-sellers.
8. Garlic insecticide.
Researchers have found that garlic can provide an effective, safe and cheap insecticide. Studies indicate that a basic garlic spray can kill up to 95% of common pests such as crickets, onion fly larvae, houseflies, mosquitoes, pea weevils and slugs. Why does garlic work as an insecticide? The active ingredient, allicin, stops protein synthesis in many bugs, which quickly kills them. It’s simple, easy and inexpensive to make and non-toxic. Put a few bottles on consignment in health food stores, garden centers, retail nurseries – any place that carries conventional insecticides. Profit margins on this are huge – as much 800%.
These are just a few of the dozens of garlic-based value-added products that you can make from garlic that can double or triple your profits, as the markups are so high. To discover more about how to grow and market gourmet garlic and value-added garlic products, read: Growing Garlic For Profit.