The property ‘Peppertrees’ managed by Adam & Kate Bush and our two children is located a short drive from the township of Scone in the Upper Hunter on the southern slope of the Liverpool Range. The 40ha property is nestled between the Towarri and Wingen Maid National Parks with remnant stands of Ironbark, White Box and Angophora Trees dotting the landscape.
The property shares a long history of fruit and vegetable production thanks to the deep, fertile alluvial soils and unique climate. The first orchids were planted in 1937 and the area was well known as a productive horticultural area with produce being sold locally, Muswellbrook and as far as Newcastle.
We are continuing the tradition of horticultural production with a test plot of garlic first grown in 2015. Since this time the production has been slowly evolving and expanding and we have now reached the stage of offering commercial amounts of Australian garlic for sale.
We produce a variety known as Monaro Purple which was believed to have been brought to Australia by Italian immigrants who came to work on the Snowy Hydro Scheme. It is now widely grown throughout the eastern states of Australia and is well adapted to a variety of climates, its only requirement being cold, frosty winters.
Occasionally the outer skin will lose its purple appearance however the individual cloves will always retain their colour. With 8-14 medium sized outer cloves with a moderate to strong flavour, it is a versatile variety, perfect for the home chef.
We normally harvest in late October through to early November and it will be air cured and ready for sale by early December. When stored properly, Monaro Purple will retain excellent flavour and texture.
How we grow it
Having grown up on a family farm on the Southern Tablelands and with agronomic qualifications Adam has a unique understanding of the importance of soil health and sustainable production and applies these principles when producing our quality garlic.
A typical production cycle will start with the incorporation of a green manure crop to improve the soils physical and organic matter characteristics in late summer. This is followed by bed preparation and the cracking of individual bulbs into single cloves in preparation for planting. We select and reserve our own seed stock each year to ensure only garlic exhibiting the most favourable characteristics are retained.
Sowing commences in early March with germination occurring after 7-10 days. The crop is irrigated via a drip system applying water and sometimes nutrients directly into the root zone. The crop is monitored by moisture probes to ensure an efficient irrigation schedule is undertaken.
Weeds are primarily removed by hand throughout the growing season and the crop is regularly monitored and checked for plant health. Harvest occurs anywhere from late October to early November where individual plants are hand pulled, trimmed and placed in drying racks to cure. Once cured bulbs are trimmed and presented for sale in early December.