I have a clear memory of eating some chicken when I was a young kid. I said “Ewww, Mom, what’s wrong with this chicken? It’s mushy!” My mom explained, “Oh, I bought that at a store.” I quickly understood that the chicken I usually ate came from a local person, and the chickens were raised in their natural environment eating things chickens are supposed to eat – you know, regenerative farming. The “mushy” chicken was likely raised in a factory farm, where the animals are fed things they wouldn’t naturally eat outside and were likely not allowed to roam outside at all, resulting in something that I didn’t like.
Garlic is much the same. The garlic we see in the grocery store is often imported from China, where they grow it using toxic chemicals, bleach it (yes, with actual bleach) so it is bright white, and shave off all the roots for cheaper transportation. Don’t eat that.
When you see 5 Sisters garlic, it might not be bright white, and there are a few important reasons for that. First, it’s grown in dirt: organic soil that is rich in nutrients, and we are darned proud of that fact. You might have some dirt in the roots of the garlic you receive. You are welcome. You might have some brown spots on your garlic, and you can smile knowing that we did not even think about bleaching the garlic we grew for you. You are welcome.
Another important factor in the whiteness or clean look of garlic is how many layers were peeled off the bulb. This is important to understand because it influences how long your garlic will last through the winter. The garlic bulb is covered by several layers of white, papery stuff. There are only a few layers. If you peel some of the layers off, the garlic will look cleaner but will not last as long through the winter. If you do not peel off the layers, the garlic might show some brownish spots but will last longer. We want to err on the side of a long-lasting bulb for you to enjoy through the winter!
For more information on storing garlic, read these posts: How Long Will Garlic Last and Storing Garlic, A Successful Approach.