Cooking With Charl

Amateur home cook, with a love for baking and all things garlic :)

The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight (my favourite place in the world!)

DSCF0175

As today is national garlic day i thought it would be the perfect time for me to tell you about my favourite place in the world, The Garlic Farm, Isle of Wight.

The Isle of Wight is somewhere that me and my boyfriend have visited for the last 5-6 years and we love it there! The views, the beaches, the villages and most importantly the food!!

As we all know i love everything about food, cooking and eating! but a food that i have always loved in large amounts is Garlic! I could quite happily live on good quality freshly baked garlic bread for the rest of my life :). As you can imagine as soon as I found out about the Garlic Farm on our first visit to the Island I just had to go there and see what they had to offer. The first time we went there it was quite different to what it is now, it was a rather basic farm shop but I fell in love with it non the less, with the smell of garlic in the air, witty garlic related signs hanging everywhere and bulbs as far as the eye could see. Right at the back of the shop there was a tasting table full of their homemade chutneys and relishes much to my delight :). It was on this visit I was first introduced to elephant garlic which now is one of my favourite things to eat just simply roasted with some good toasted bread mmmmm amazing! I asked a lot of questions when i was there about the different varities of garlic and how to grow garlic and the shop assistants are always very friendly and full of knowledge, its so lovely to see staff really care about what they are selling.

35609_400745388095_1693807_n-1

250554_10150205127218096_6470232_n-1

fresh green garlic, solent wight bulbs, scapes and elephant garlic

DSCF0008 DSCF0174

me with my oil of wight, isle of wight flour and garlic farm grinder refill 🙂

A brief history of The Garlic Farm

The Garlic man himself is Colin Boswell who moved to the island with his parents in the late 50’s. Mersley Farm (where the Garlic Farm is situated) was acquired by the Boswell family and was originally used for cash crops such as sweetcorn which took off in the 60’s and 70’s becoming the UK’s largest sweetcorn producers. As the farm got bigger they needed to expand their crops and decided to start growing garlic after Colins mom, Nora grew some lovely bulbs in their own garden. Colin began to study all aspects of garlic travelling to California and France to further his studies. By 1979 they managed to break into mainstream supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsburys and Marks and Spencer. Through the 80’s and 90’s Garlic became loved by many across the UK and demand for colins garlic grew. By 1999 they returned to where they started selling to farmers markets across the UK, getting back to their roots. After many Tv appearences by the Garlic farm their popularity grew and they are now the Uk’s largest specialist garlic growers.

DSCF0177 DSCF0173 DSCF0172 DSCF0176

As I mentioned before, The Garlic Farm is quite different today, it has expanded dramatically since my first visit, they now have an even bigger farm shop, tasting centre, cooking demos, growing information, tractor tours and a fantastic restaurant.

463212_10150905650658096_1966440787_o 456151_10150905645928096_1738877201_o

The farm shop now has an even bigger selection of goodies from garlic bulbs to garlic gadgets and fantastic selections of homemade garlicky products. It is most definitely the place to go if ever you visit the Isle of Wight, but to be honest id say The Garlic Farm is worth the ferry ride all by itself! And remember if ever you buy garlic with ‘wight’ in the title you can thank the Garlic Farm for your amazing garlic!

The Garlic Farm Website

The Garlic Farm Facebook

The Garlic Farm Twitter

Why not stay at The Garlic Farm on your visit to the island?

Mersley Farm Holidays

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

My sourdough starter experiment

Last Sunday I decided to take the plunge and try and nurture a sourdough starter from scratch! After reading alot on the Internet I found out it is best for beginners to start off with an established starter and work from there.
I am rather inpatient though and could not wait to get a starter from elsewhere.

I followed a fantastic guide over at sourdough.com and so far things seem to be going on track to sour doms beginners guide.

I thought I would share my progress so far :).

Day 5

20130419-152017.jpg

20130419-152108.jpg

I fed the starter 50g strong white flour and 50ml filtered water everyday for the first 3 days, then discarded half and refreshed with 100g strong flour and 100ml filtered water for the last 2 days.
I could see activity after day 3 but only very slight, it’s now safe to say something is certainly happening in there!
Next step is to discard most and refresh again, then hopefully it will double in size overnight! (Fingers crossed)

I am a complete novice when it comes to sourdough so if there are any sourdough bakers out there feel free to advise me 🙂

day 7
Doubled in size very quickly (2-3hours) then shrunk back to original size so gave an early feed today as I think he was hungry! 🙂

20130420-185305.jpg

20130420-185418.jpg

my first sourdough loaf

20130422-200004.jpg
Little bit of oven spring and good holey texture

20130422-200347.jpg

20130422-200447.jpg
Only problem I seemed to encounter was it losing its shape as soon as I tried to remove it from shaping bowl

20130422-200645.jpg

4 Comments »