Grower John enjoys 'one of the best garlic years'
One of the country's leading garlic growers is harvesting his crops at the moment – and declaring it to be one of the best seasons ever, despite being the worst summer for weather on record.
"We've got several barns full now," said John Rosewell, of Barrington, in Somerset. "We've harvested quite a few tons this year. The horrible weather didn't seem to hit us – the garlic is all nice and firm."
Mr Rosewell, who has become famous in horticultural circles for developing England's first home-registered variety of garlic, added: "It's been one of the best garlic years I've known, even though there have been problems with the weather.
"We've got seven varieties, including both the Barrington purple and white and the giant elephant garlic."
So impressed is the South Somerset farmer by his crops that he is now planning to enlarge his annual garlic festival in September.
"The festival is a big shindig on the farm – people can come and see where it's grown," he said. "We do garlicky recipes. This local stuff is what you call proper gourmet garlic.
The festival, to be staged at Barrington on September 30, will be "larger and more entertaining than in previous years", said Mr Rosewell.
So does the bumper crop mean he can take a holiday? "There's no rest for the wicked – we will start planting again later in August and go on with that until Christmas," replied the self-styled King of Garlic.