Thaxton’s Organic Garlic
The Farm: 10 acres in Hudson, OH, 30 miles Southeast of Cleveland. Three fields of garlic totaling 1 acre of production.
What They Seed:
10 varieties of organic garlic: 8 hard neck (Spanish Rioja, Khabar, Bogatyr, Pskem, Romania Red, Georgian Crystal, Music, Extra Hardy German White, Korean Red) and 2 soft neck (California White, French Heirloom)
Where You Can Find Them:
Farmers Markets: Hudson Farmers Market (Saturdays, June – Oct)
On the Farm: Call and make an appointment to visit the garlic barn
Feeders They Supply:
Restaurants: The Greenhouse Tavern, Trentina, Toast, Vero, Flying Fig, Coquette, Hudson’s, Blue Door, Cure
Chris DiCato/Thaxton and her husband Fred have deep roots in the farming community in Ohio. Chris’ grandparents came over from Italy and Fred’s parents were both raised on farms in southern Ohio. They were destined to be farmers.
The couple met at Kent State University and married in 1982. Fred, with his education and biology degree, went into teaching sciences in high school in southern Ohio. Chris wasn’t able to find a job in geology where they lived, so she went back to school to also pursue education and ended up teaching science as well. They bought their first farm in 1985: five acres, nine outbuildings and a one hundred-year old farmhouse. Soy and cornfields surrounded the farm. When their first son was born in 1987 they decided they would grow quality food for their family and planted a big garden. It was a commitment that led them to where they are today: a small farm feeding their growing family, all organically grown and cared for by themselves.
In 1992 they relocated back to northern Ohio and purchased a 10 acre farm in Hudson, which is home of Thaxton’s Organic Garlic today.
Growing garlic started out as a hobby, when a friend taught them they could add it to their garden. They started with a 10’ x 8’ plot. Well, all those Italian kinfolk thought they were supposed to get more of it every time they saw each other. So Chris and Fred tilled up more ground to supply the extended families’ garlic habit. Friends also started getting garlic from their garden. One thing led to another and soon they were selling it out of their barn. In 2006 Chris read about a new farmers market in Hudson and they were on their way. Since you plant garlic in October in Ohio they had not planted enough to supply a farmers market demand. They sold out in four weeks. More ground was plowed and the following year they lasted eight weeks at the market. By the third season they had enough to last the whole market season. Chefs started using it in the cooking demos during the market, which led to them wanting it in their restaurants. So more ground was plowed and planted…
The Thaxtons now grow ten varieties of organic garlic. Eight are hard neck varieties and two are soft neck. The farm became certified organic through OEFFA in 2011 and each year they grow their own seed for the following year. That is the only way they can guarantee the source for the seed. Garlic does not like competition from weeds so they hand weed the garden three times a season. Since Chris works at the local high school they always have a ready supply of help.
All three children were raised along with the growing garlic business. Their youngest now runs the crew in the barn each year.
The relationships the Thaxtons have made with the chefs are valuable in sales but also in building community. One of their biggest chef supporters, Jonathon Sawyer, had just opened The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland and was asked by Outstanding In The Field if he would cook a farm to table dinner at one of his supplier’s farms. He asked Chris and Fred if they would like to host, which turned out to be an unbelievable event. It now happens annually and continues to be one of Chris’ favorite days of the year.
What Seeders & Feeders Inspire You?
All the wonderful chefs and their dedicated crews. All the people we have met at our annual farm to table event Outstanding in the Field. The people at farmers markets and garlic festivals.
“Our beginning hobby of growing garlic has now taken over a large part of our lives. The garlic gets all the attention so we rarely plant a vegetable garden. We now barter garlic for veggies, fruit and meats at market.”
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