Meet Dougal – he’s passionate about growing obscure vegetables!
Despite the name, Boutique Garlic grows more than garlic. Boutique Garlic owner, Dougal, specialises in growing great garlic and tasty cold-climate specialty vegetables and berries for the Carriageworks markets, cafes and chefs.
I chatted with Dougal to hear more about his farming business. In a nutshell, he’s passionate about growing obscure, hard-to-find vegetables on the property he lives on with his family. Read the full interview below.
Can you tell us about Boutique Garlic?
It started when Dougal moved back to the Orange region in 2005 – he started experimenting with planting obscure vegetables on his parent’s property.
Not long after arriving back in the area, he bought a neighbours 120-acre property located on the outskirts of Orange and decided to plant a garlic crop.
Garlic is pest and disease-resistant thus the reason he chose this bulletproof crop.
How did Boutique Garlic begin?
In between working full-time as a geologist, Dougal planted his first commercial garlic crop in 2010 and it’s been full-steam ahead ever since – by year three, he was growing garlic by the semi-trailer load.
Dougal still works as a geologist and one-man farmer so automating the farming processes has been vital to enable him to do both jobs. He’s efficiently organised the property to cope with busy periods. For example, the garlic production side of the property is fully automated with automatic planters and harvesters.
Where do you supply garlic?
Early on, garlic was sold at markets in Melbourne and Flemington Markets in Sydney.
However, due to various reasons such as downsizing the garlic crop and growing a variety of other heirloom vegetables, the bulk of his produce is now sold through local farmer Greg from Block11 Organics.
Greg has a weekly stall at the Carriagework markets and goes direct to chefs and cafes in Sydney. Well-known chef Peter Gilmore makes creamy polenta with Boutique Garlic’s purple corn and serves it at Quay Restaurant, Sydney.
Dougal explained supplying locally has been difficult as there hasn’t been the demand however keep an eye out over the next few months as hopefully, you’ll be able to get your hands on these fresh, hard-to-find obscure vegetables soon!
What’s Boutique Garlic digging at the moment?
After a long, wet, cold winter, it’s all about perennial species. Dougal is enjoying the abundant supply of asparagus and rhubarb.
In between this wet weather he’s busily preparing the ground for the brussel sprout crop – this will be planted in a couple of weeks and will then be ready to harvest in April/May 2023.
Words: Helen Johnson – Digital Content Developer