The Garlic Papers

On a warm Friday afternoon in August, we packed Bullet into his 4Runner and left our vacation casita in Taos for the 20 mile drive to the village of Dixon. We were no strangers to the farming community, having frequented their farmers market. We looked forward to our trips—being outdoors, buying organically grown vegetables and herbs, and talking to those who live close to the land.

From a young age, my first experience with Mother Earth was an intimate one. I loved to eat dirt! My mother had to keep a close eye on me when I was outdoors. As I grew older, dirt no longer interested me as a food source. But equally disturbing to my mother was my habit of stuffing my pockets with Earth’s treasures. On wash day, she found it disgusting to clean out my pants pockets—earthworms, beetles, bugs of any kind, whatever I happened to come across and value. Thankfully, no snakes. Well, no poisonous snakes.

Dixon sits at an elevation of 6,028 feet above sea level and is on the banks of the Embudo River, a tributary of the Rio Grande. The town is not only home to the largest population of organic farmers in the state, but it is also home to several wineries. One of our favorites is La Chirapada Winery: https://lachiripada.com

Before arriving at El Bosque Garlic Farm, we had notified Stanley Crawford, aka Stan, that we planned to visit to purchase produce, and he was awaiting our arrival as we chugged down the dirt road to his home. Not only was I interested in buying garlic, I wanted to chat about us both being authors and to discuss the intriguing articles I had read about Stan and “the Garlic Wars.”

But purchasing garlic, shallots, and sweet onions came first. By the time the conversation turned to writing, a group of three women strolled up the drive and everyone had produce on their minds, not books. We visited with Stan for a while and then left for Taos, leaving him to chat with his neighbors and friends as they chose and weighted their purchases.

On our way home, we detoured to La Chirapada Winery for wine and a stop at the Dixon Cooperative Market for cheese and bread. We planned to roast some garlic and grill a couple of sweet onions; the beginnings of a delicious meal.

After doing some online research about the Garlic Wars, I was eager to read Stanley Crawford’s The Garlic Papers. As with anything controversial, there are strong opinions on both sides of the aisle. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. Read one of many articles, or opinions, on the Garlic Wars here:  https://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/The-Chinese-garlic-wars-2619387.php

Book blurb for The Garlic Papers: Readers who care about preserving local businesses will appreciate this new book by writer and garlic farm owner Stanley Crawford. In the fall of 2014, Crawford questioned US tariff exemptions for the country’s largest importer of Chinese garlic. This set off a massive legal battle, pitting his small New Mexico farm against the importer and its international law firms. In this compelling account of his David-and-Goliath battle, now in its fifth year, Crawford describes his personal and farming life under a cloud of lawsuits and administrative skirmishes. The unusual case was of such interest that it became the subject of a Netflix documentary, “Garlic Breath,” in the six-part series Rotten, released in 2018.

Learn more about El Bosque Garlic Farm and Stanley Crawford as a farmer and author: https://santafefarmersmarket.com/profile/el-bosque-garlic-farm/

“Living close to the land and working the earth is one of life’s most rewarding gifts.” —Pat Krapf

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