Tue, Jul 25, 2023 5:00 AM

Growing Garlic & Shallots a family business




In 2003 Robert and Alan Harrison-Jones took over the family business Garlico from their father, Peter. The brothers say growing is our business, we are driven to plant, grow, harvest and market the best allium crops in Marlborough’s Awatere Valley.

Annually they grow 25ha of garlic, 10 ha of shallots, Onion’s for seed and keep bees for honey and pollination. The annual cycle is always busy.  Garlic harvest finishes by the end of January, they are then onto Onion seed harvest which entails the seed going into a drier. This is followed on by digging and drying the shallots for three weeks before they are harvested.

“We also do Vineyard contracting and development work, drilling and heading for barley and wheat,” says Robert.

This annual cycle keeps the brother’s machinery busy all year round.  They negotiate and lease land and every block’s prepared and soil tested. Mid-winter garlic is planted, they are full on with Vineyard work during August and September. Then the shallots are planted in September.

“If a stranger coming into the yard wanting to talk to the boss, I just send them into the shed for one of our staff to help them. Maintaining a happy work environment is pivotal, we have six permanent staff in the shed and three on planting and tractor work, plus casuals in the busy season. We couldn’t do all this without our loyal staff who enjoy the business too.”

Robert’s wife Vicky, takes care of anything to do with Assure Quality and in the busy season their adult children pitch in if they are around. The whole family is involved. “We are proud to be second generation garlic growers,” Robert adds.

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