« How restaurants are surviving | Main | Canton's CakeLove closes »

February 2, 2010

H1N1 fears lead to worldwide garlic shortage

garlic.jpgOK, this is big news. Normally I wouldn't use the Gilroy Dispatch as my primary source, but as we all know, Gilroy, Calif. bills itself as the Garlic Capital of the World.

It turns out it's the Garlic Capital of the Free World.

The Dispatch is reporting that Chinese consumers believe that garlic will ward off the swine flu, so they've been stockpiling it. Now when the Chinese stockpile something, they make a difference in the world economy. ...

The result is skyrocketing international demand. This year China, which supplies about 70 percent of the world's garlic, exported only about half of its usual 200 million pounds. Blame H1N1 but also a smaller crop because of bad weather and fewer government subsidies. In any case, the price has tripled.

As Bucky said in response to this news:

I had developed personal contingency plans for just about every conceivable catastrophe:  a major, paralyzing snow storm; a double-dip recession; the Colts winning the Super Bowl; developing that form of dementia where Lady Gaga starts to make sense.
But a garlic shortage?  I'm just going to throw in the towel.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens) 
Posted by Elizabeth Large at 3:47 PM | | Comments (20)


Hey, don't diss Lady GaGa! She does make sense. Dollars, too.

A garlic shortage is a tragedy, though. I hope they are hording it in the ground, so we have lots come fall.

By the way, is it still possible to find honest-to-goodness garlic from Gilroy anymore? These days, it seems like the only garlic sold in local stores comes from China, and I've found that Chinese garlic rots a lot more quickly than genuine Gilroy garlic ever did (probably because of weeks spent in trans-Pacific ships).

hmpstd, much to my surprise, the garlic that Food Lion sells is Gilroy garlic.

BTW, I've never been to Gilroy but I've heard you can smell the garlic miles before you hit the town.

I'm concerned about the Angostura Bitters shortage. I hope my bottle lasts until spring when more is supposed to arrive.

I don't understand this Lady Gaga, but then again in my entire music collection I think I only have three women singers: Stevie Nicks, Tanya Tucker and Karen Carpenter.

As to the garlic shortage, we can always use an American substitute. Switch to ramps, It's Appalachian garlic.

RoCK, I'm somewhat surprised you have no Emmylou Harris.

The bulk garlic at the Canton Safeway is "Product of USA." Should I assume Gilroy?

The Canton Safeway isn't terribly religious about keeping their signs up-to-date and accurate. I notice this the most with the Clementines, as they're sold in boxes that reveal the true country of origin.

They couldn't stockpile creamed corn, could they? Could they!

You gotta think this is the first time Karen Carpenter has ever been mentioned in a dining blog, don't you?

Wrong. And it was even a discussion you were part of. Scroll down the comments. EL

You gotta think this is the first time Karen Carpenter has ever been mentioned in a dining blog, don't you?

Hardly surprising on this blog.

Wrong. And it was even a discussion you were part of. Scroll down the comments. EL

Thank you. My post contained an homage and several disrespectful and clueless comments.

Long ago and, oh, so far away...

Considering how Karen Carpenter died, it was inevitable that she'd come up.

May she rest in peace.

But getting back on topic ... I have driven through Gilroy many times, but it only reeks if you are there during harvest season, as I recall. The last time I drove through was last Thanksgiving, and the only clues were big signs proclaiming Gilroy "the Garlic Capital of the World."

They might not ward off vampires, but I've always been more partial to Castroville, CA, the artichoke capital of the world.

After all, they crowned Marylin Monroe Artichoke queen - when she still was Norma Jean!

captcha must be advocating single-payer:
medicine deadlock

My understanding is that Gilroy Garlic is either owned by McCormick or McC has East Coast distribution rights.

I drove through Gilroy, CA. It had these odd little tchotchke shops devoted to garlic.

Eve, McCormick sold Gilroy Foods in 1996 to ConAgra Foods, which owns it nowadays.

Some years ago I visited my brother when he lived in SF, and we took a driving tour as far as Monterey. I could smell Gilroy's garlic fields long before we reached them, and it made my mouth water.

Captcha: by yoakum (Pappy, Mammy, or Li'l Abner?)

...McCormick sold Gilroy Foods in 1996...

I must get out more.

Post a comment

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected