Learning more about food doesn’t just teach us about agriculture and the environment, it also teaches us a lot about our history! Like you, we were intrigued when purple garlic started showing up in our Bay Area Imperfect boxes. What started as a quick email to our friends at Jacobs Del Cabo Farms quickly expanded into an Indiana Jones style journey into the history of garlic in California. Here’s some of what we learned.
- A one of a kind village: Our purple garlic comes to us from the old farming village of San Jose de Magdalena. Halfway down the Baja Peninsula is a dusty, steep, and mountainous village where garlic has been planted for since Spanish missionaries first planted it over 300 years ago! According to our friends at Del Cabo: “The Spanish liked good wine and strong garlic.”
- A history of quality and flavor: Villagers in San Jose de Magdalena proudly do things the old way, farming organically and fertilizing their garlic on handmade terraces with goat manure. Since the garlic often had to travel a long way after it was picked, they bred it for extra strong flavor!
- Record-breaking garlic: To raise awareness about this unique garlic, Del Cabo once made a braid that was over 120 feet long, which set the Guinness World Record for longest garlic braid at the time. After parading it around the streets of San Francisco, they sold it to the Stinking Rose, an upscale restaurant, where a parish priest blessed it and then installed it on the walls as a proud form of decoration.
- Versatile in the kitchen: While our purple garlic doesn’t have enormous heads like you’ll see at the supermarket, it’s got such great flavor that you won’t need nearly as much. This makes it perfect for the avid garlic fans out there as well as the frugal shoppers looking to get more milage out of their produce. We love using it to make homemade aioli or roasting it as a head to mellow and sweeten the flavor.
No matter how you prepare it, we hope you love your next head of Imperfect a little bit more now that you know the flavorful backstory!