After a 4 – 5 month hiatus, October marks the return of the local Garlic season. During the off-season, supply comes mostly from Spain and Argentina or Mexico (or if you are at a supermarket, most likely China). But as the weather starts to turn, first Queensland, then Victorian Garlic will start to hit the shelves.
Early in October we get what is referred to as “fresh garlic”, meaning that it is straight out of the ground and has not been fully cured, like regular garlic you may be used to. In this form it has a lovely fresh favour, that is less intense, and more suitable to raw uses like salad dressings, bruschetta etc. Due to its more delicate flavour, cooking fresh garlic will usually kill the flavour and be a waste.
November is generally when the first of the properly cured local garlic becomes available. It can be pricey initially, but will usually fall considerably as the season clicks into gear. Even at its higher price, it is still worth the extra money as it is vastly superior in quality to any imported produce.
Despite more and more growers getting into the local garlic-growing market, the season will still generally only last till around April/June, depending on the growing conditions. So make sure you get your fill during this time!