Georg Thalhammer supplies organic garlic for the first time

"Fresh organic garlic yield should be sufficient to serve the market into August"

The demand for domestic garlic is increasing in Germany. Not only the conventional, regionally produced product is becoming more and more popular with consumers, but organic garlic is also becoming increasingly popular. Georg Thalhammer - passionate organizer of a rapidly growing organic producer community from Steinfeld in Bavaria - has also recognized this trend and is now supplying retailers with organic garlic from his own fields for the first time. FreshPlaza spoke to him about the season so far and the long-term potential of organic products.

Organic garlic fresh from the field.

A good 30 years ago, the grower already grew organic garlic himself, but  on a modest scale. Subsequently, he purchased goods from French organic producers in the Drôme region. This line of business was then temporarily suspended. "Last year I was able to take over four tons of leftover cuttings from this producer. Four of my pumpkin growers were ready to plant the seeds. So they finally set aside 6 hectares for organic garlic cultivation."

Currently, the basil harvest is in full swing. People are still on the lookout for a manager who will develop the producer group.

Optimal weather conditions
According to Thalhammer, the cultivation process of organic garlic has developed very positively. "The weather conditions were optimal for organic garlic. In April and May we only had to water the crops a little. From the middle of May we were able to harvest the first green goods." Last week, the last organic tubers were taken from the field. Next year, the grower hopes to sow a little earlier so that the first crop can be harvested as early as the end of April. They are also thinking about growing two to three more varieties, instead of just one.

The organic garlic is primarily produced as a green product for the fresh market. In the future, in-house processing might become a reality.

The interest in the trade is undoubtedly there, it is noted. "Our goods have been listed at Edeka and Aldi Süd stores for about two weeks. In principle, the yield is sufficient to supply these customers with fresh garlic until August. However, should one or the other wholesale customer contact us, he could be supplied with goods accordingly."

The fresh garlic is still being stored in a cold storage for carrots. In the course of next year, a brand new warehouse for organic field vegetables and forest products is to be built with a cooling capacity of 5,000m². In the remaining premises, for example bear's garlic, garlic and basil could be temporarily stored.

Great potential in German market
All in all, the major organic supplier draws a positive interim balance. In the long term, Thalhammer claims that there are certainly further growth opportunities for the regional organic garlic. "The potential is clearly there, especially as domestic consumption in the main growing country China is growing rapidly. As a result, export volumes are also gradually decreasing. Secondly, the crop is also an excellent addition in terms of crop rotation after the pumpkin harvest. When the wild garlic runs out, we start the garlic season seamlessly, so it fits in perfectly with our work processes."

Wild collectors are now picking regional blueberries in the forest.

Basil harvest and forest blueberries
The Thalhammer company strives for a continuous development of the regional product range. Currently the organic basil harvest in the Rhön is in full swing. "We cultivate basil purely for processing and produce basil in olive oil and for our own pesto line on behalf of our customers. In addition, starting next week, we will be launching organic wild blueberries on the market for the first time. At first we will only offer these wild berries on the fresh market. Then we will try to go for delicious blueberry jams, and perhaps there will also be a new spread with blueberry and pumpkin. From next year onwards, we also want to dry the berries ourselves and use them for our processed products."

For more information:
Georg Thalhammer
Handel mit Biolebensmitteln e.K.
Tannenweg 10
D-97854 Steinfeld
Tel.: 0049 9359 9090376
Fax: 0049 9359 9090415

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