They say if you haven’t planted your garlic by May, then you might as well forget it.
Well, it’s now May, and as per usual I haven’t done a thing about it… But I bet Jan Goroncy has.
I first heard about Barrington’s Jan Goroncy when I was working at the local paper – a local fondly referred to him as ‘the father’ of Gloucester’s garlic movement, and it had just won a foodie award in Melbourne.
“Well,” I thought, “there’s a story.”
Juggling responsibilities between an online healthcare business and his farm near Barrington, Gloucester, Jan’s passion for wholistic farming is contagious. He is a biodynamic farmer – think Steiner, think anthroposophy, linking a mystical cosmos to the natural world of scientific facts. He buries cow dung in cow horns in synch with seasons and the moon; undug months later, the revived dung no longer has the qualities of poo – it doesn’t smell but instead has turned into an incredibly rich, fertile soil which is heavily diluted with biodynamically ‘treated’ water and then used as a fertiliser. Of course I had to ask – turns out the water treatment is about ‘breaking the memory of the water’ – then I had to ask about that too and found a simple answer – all water on earth is recycled, so it has millions of years of memory. Now there’s an interesting concept!
With no chemicals used; locally re-purposed oyster shells ground for their calcium; ‘heavily scented’ (there’s an understatement) re-purposed ‘fish stew’ brewed for, um… everything, the farming is hard work, but the flavour of produce speaks for itself. Suffering from a slight bout of pneumonia at the time of filming, Jan’s garlic nonetheless blew my head off. Fantastic!!