How the Journey to Black Garlic Began
Cindy and Marcel Collard had been long-time proponents of certified organic farming, so when a friend gave Cindy a taste of black garlic a few years ago, she looked for certified organic black garlic on the internet. When she came up largely empty handed from her search, she and Marcel decided that this was a specialty item they would be excited to produce.
Black garlic was a unique, delicious and nutritious item that had “fun” written all over it! It is exciting to produce a food product that is not widely known and be able to introduce it to the public. And to combine such a new flavor, already rich in nutrients, with the benefits of being certified organic – it was too good to pass up.
Working the Land
Marcel comes from a family of farmers in Canada and his father had a dairy farm. Marcel worked in an orchard years ago and has been an estate manager for decades. Cindy says, “Marcel needs to be outside. He couldn’t survive inside!”
Marcel works the land, while Cindy does a lot of the certification management, fermenting, and packaging. But there’s plenty of side by side work as well, both in the field and in the home, during various parts of the black garlic process.
It is work the two of them are comfortable with and happy doing. “We’ve done gardening together forever,” says Cindy. “We’ve had huge gardens since we’ve been married.”
Friends, Food & Family
Cindy and Marcel are already well known in the Hancock, N.H., community where they live. With a wide array of friends, it’s not surprising that many of them volunteered to help with the garlic harvest last July.
“It’s kind of a social thing,”says Marcel. “We can talk about crazy stuff together and have fun!”
Cindy and Marcel have a daughter who lives in Maine with her family, and a son, Mark, who lives in Maine as well with his family. Mark went to the Culinary Institute of New York and developed the recipes for the Quarter Moon Black Garlic Vinaigrettes.
Mark also has a music studio up in Maine. Marcel, who plays an upright (double) bass, is getting back into playing the guitar. He likes French jazz and mused that maybe he’d record some songs about garlic at his son’s studio!
Expanding their Production
The Collards started with one fermenter then gradually ramped up to eight. They used to use the spare bedroom for their fermenting room.
“We knew at the end of the first year that we couldn’t continue to do that, because that’s where all our clothes were hanging!” says Cindy.
The delicious smell of black garlic just may not be something they wanted to brand themselves in wherever they went. So the Collards expanded their efforts and built a fermentation room off the kitchen of their home.
Now they have 13 fermenters slowly cooking the certified organic garlic they so painstakingly grow. Each fermenter holds 30 to 40 garlic heads.
So their journey continues, with the Collards continuing to refine their production process and learn new black garlic recipes to tantalize their family and friends with. Lucky for all foodies and lovers of healthful foods, the Collards discovered the joys of black garlic and are taking us all along for the ride!
Our black garlic products are a labor of love. May you taste it in every bite!