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French purple garlic achieves AOC

Following a fifteen year process the INAO have unanimously voted on the demand for an AOC (designation of origin) for the Cadour purple garlic. This is a big step forward for producers who are suffering from competition from Spanish garlic. The aim of such a demand was originally to stabilise prices which varied so hugely year to year on the actual Cadours market (market every wednesday morning from July to start of December).

However when the project initiator passed away and the process seemed too complicated, the idea was practically abandoned in 2009. Yet the Syndicate defending purple Cadours garlic which regroups about 80 producers (about 50% of purple garlic producers) and 6 out of the 7 marketers in the production zone took the matter into their own hands. “We knew it would be long, longer than for a label or a PGI, but we made it” says Lilian Bernard, Present of the Syndicate. 

The producers where thrown last February when the dossier was sent back to them asking for proof that the Cadours garlic was unique. “We had to find significant differences with the Drome garlic. We worked all summer and we did it” says Lilian Bernard.

The Cadours purple garlic is characterised by it’s colour shown through it’s purple stripes. Known to be robust, it is of a large calibre with a rounded form. The cloves are big, regular, of an ivory colour and sometimes slightly purple. It is the earliest of French varieties. It is on the markets as of July and can be easily conserved until February if kept warm at room temperature in the kitchen. It represents 7% of national garlic production.
Producers hope that this AOC will distinguish them from Spansh competition. They hope to add 30% value to current prices. This could be a good boost for producers who had a catastrophic 2013 due to Spanish and Chinese competition. In 2013, 25,000 tons of Spanish garlic (i.e. 20 times more than French production) and 12,000 tons of Chinese garlic was imported into France.

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