Paul Pospisil (editor of The Garlic News and owner of Beaver Pond Estates in Ontario, Canada) is the creator of this "cultivar" you can read the whole story about its fascinating history in his trial report below.
A NEW GARLIC STRAIN FROM BEAVER POND ESTATES
Maberly, Ontario, June 2002Once in a long while, a small miracle of nature happens, the creation of a new plant variety by mutation. Since garlic is asexual, that is, it reproduces vegetatively by the natural process of cloning, it cannot be hybridized by cross-pollination to create new strains.
Most plants possess fertile flowers and reproduce sexually by production of seed that grows from the fertilized female . Plant breeders produce new hybrid varieties by cross-pollination of different varieties to produce a new one. This procedure cannot be used with garlic as it has no fertile blossoms. Yet, there are hundreds of different strains of garlic cultivated world wide. How did these strains occur?
The belief among researchers is that garlic both mutates, either under stress or for unknown reasons, and, as well, adapts to its environment. Being aware of these possibilities, each year, we carefully inspected our garlic throughout the growing period, particularly at harvest time, looking for out of the ordinary characteristics. Over the years, we observed examples of adaptation, and, on several occasions, false mutations.
Then, a true mutation occurred and for the next four years, we carefully nurtured along this little gem of nature. The story of "Majestic" began to unfold in our garlic research plot.
Harvest 1998; A single plant in a row of our Control Standard, Rocambole "Reliable", stood out, tall like a Porcelain but with the leaf and scape structure of a Rocambole. The harvested bulb was huge, of Colossal grade size and had 9 cloves like a Rocambole. In this region, Porcelains typically produce 3-5 cloves per bulb. The cloves had Porcelain appearance and colouring but little similarity to those of Rocambole "Reliable". Fall 1998; The 9 cloves, identified as NKGI98, were separately planted in fall 1998. Harvest 1999; The 9 cloves produced 9 huge bulbs in the Super Jumbo to Colossal size range on plants which had now taken on Porcelain characteristics. The bulbs yielded an average of 4.3 cloves, the 9 bulbs producing 39 Porcelain-type cloves.
The garlic appeared to have completed its mutation from a Rocambole to a Porcelain in two growing seasons.
Fall 1999; Replanting the 39 NKGI98 cloves resulted in 39 huge bulbs harvested in summer 2000. The bulbs were the largest of any of the 10 Porcelain strains grown in the 1999-2000 cycle.
Fall 2000; From the 39 harvested bulbs, 23 of the smallest, seed size bulbs were selected for planting in fall 2000. The 23 bulbs contained 96 cloves, an average of 4.2 per bulb.
The resulting harvest in 2001 was nothing less than amazing. Despite summer drought conditions, all bulbs exceeded size Jumbo, averaging 60.9 grams and were considerably larger than any other Porcelain in the trials.
The mutant, NKGI98 was assigned the name, "Majestic", affectionately referred to as "Paul's Pride".Fall 2001; The cloves from most of the bulbs were replanted in fall 2001 to increase the quantity.
Spring 2002; During the 2002 growing season, "Majestic" is larger, more robust and healthier looking than any other Porcelain in the trials. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, it should harvest a crop of superior quality again.
Developed over 5 growing cycles, this new strain promises to be one of the best Porcelains available.
Harvest 2002; A limited quantity of Majestic planting stock was released to growers attending the 2002 Field Day. Samples are being shipped for genetic "fingerprinting" to establish the identity of this new strain. A modest increase in planting will be carried out Fall 2002 in order to increase planting stock for interested growers.Paul & Mary Lou Pospisil, Beaver Pond Estates
Paul & Mary Lou Pospisil, Beaver Pond Estates
This smelly superfood has been both revered as an offering fit for kings and gods and yet by others, is despised as a substance suitable only to be thrown out with table scraps and fed to the hogs. Believe it or not, all garlics do not taste the same. The components commonly used to measure the taste from one garlic to the next are flavor and pungency and sometimes aftertaste.
Flavor is the intensity of the garlic taste itself - its garlickiness. Pungency refers to the degree of hotness when eaten raw - cooking down removes the heat. When eaten raw, garlic has been compared to a chili pepper but the heat doesn't usually last over a minute and has an aftertaste. Aftertaste, after all, is self-explanatory but is not necessarily related to pungency.
It is noteworthy to mention that some garlic varieties have heavy flavor but are mild in heat, while others may be light in both or heavy in both. And yet the taste of one particular variety of garlic can change at any given time. In general, garlic is milder when first harvested from the ground but as it drys and cures the flavor will intensify. Growing conditions will also play into the taste of ones garlic. Adverse weather can cause normally hot varieties to become mild and vise-versa but by the nest year they should return to normal so long as the growing conditions are back to typical.
This is only a brief overview of the many tastes of garlic. Taste after-all is subjective, so to truly appreciate the many varieties of garlic one must experiment to see which tastes appeal to one's self.
Garlic is one of the world's oldest cultivated crops and has been praised for its flavor, medicinal benefits and spiritual powers alike. It is believed to be native to the region of the Caucasus Mountains, while others believe it to be native to central or south Asia. The debate over its origin still remains today. For centuries garlic has been esteemed in many cultures, especially Egyptian, Pakistani, Indian and Chinese cultures. It was introduced to Europe after the crusades and from there, introduced to the Americas.
Of all the varieties available in the states today, only a few varieties came in with European immigrants over the centuries. Most, however, came all at once in 1989. The USDA had been anxious to gain permission to go to the Caucasus region to collect garlics but it wasn't until the deterioration of the Soviet Union in 1989, when the Americans were suddenly invited. Those who entered were under continuous armed gaurd and were only permited to travel at night so that they would not be allowed the chance to observe anything of military importance. They traveled along the the old Silk Road stopping at nearly every local market to make their garlic purchases and naming each cultivar (variety) after the village they were in.
Upon their return to the US, the USDA realized they had no gardens ready in which to plant the garlic, so they contracted out to a few private growers with the understanding that the garlic would be shared between them. After the crops were harvested and the USDA got its share, the private growers began to trade among other growers and friends.
The garlic's individual characteristics have been altered over time by changing growing conditions, such as soil fertility, rainfall, temperature, altitude, length and severity of winter, etc. as it has spread across the globe. This explains the hundreds of sub-varieties (cultivars) know to us today and a result, the consumption and popularity of garlic has grown substantially in the last 25 years.
There are many different types of garlic, some believe as many as 600-700 sub-varieties worldwide; and they are almost all different in size, shape, color, taste, number of cloves per bulb, pungency and storability. But to understand this, one should start back at the beginning.
All true garlic are classified under the species Allium Sativum (meaning "pungent cultivated") of which there are two sub-species: Ophios, or hard-necked garlic and Sativum, or soft-necked garlic. Softneck garlic is said to have developed and been cultivated over centuries by growers of the original hardnecks through a process of selection. Currently, botanists believe there to be ten different families of garlic. There are five varieties of hardnecks: Porcelain, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple, Glazed Purple Stripe and Rocambole. Then there are three varieties of weakly bolting hardnecks: Asiatic, Creole and Turban. And lastly there are two varieties of softneck: Artichoke and Silverskin. All of the hundreds of sub-varieites (cultivars) of garlic grown all over the world came from these ten basic groups.