Dr. Garlic

Maplewood Gardens

Dave, or “Dr. Garlic”, as he is known in the Stevens Point Farmer’s Market in Wisconsin, grows certified naturally grown organic garlic which has been described as, “beyond organic.” Dave explains that he rejects USDA organic’s guidelines and doesn’t use anything unnatural. He has been growing garlic and other veggies for over 33 years. Dave said he didn’t set out to grow garlic, but that, “Garlic found me.” He actually builds the soil, not using any pesticides because it kills off beneficial insects.  Dr. Garlic claims to have the “purest” soil around.

Dave grows and sells a variety of garlic including Montana Giant, Georgian Fire, Persian Star, Killarney Red, Music, Chesnok Red, Romanian Red, and Georgian Crystal, all of which have distinct and unique flavors.

Garlic is known as one of the world’s healthiest foods. Health benefits are many and include, being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, cancer preventing, reduces blood pressure, prevents colds, improves bone health and most recent research includes antioxidants may help prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Maplewood Garden’s is a division of Whistling Candleman Enterprises.  He self-designs his own labels which originated years ago when he made and sold candles out west. Dave said he would play the whistle while he sold the candles, once bringing the attention of someone who was so inspired by Dave that he wrote an epic poem titled, “The Song of the Whistling Candleman.”

Dave reported that at a young age, he “Formed the habit of excellence”, and “Explores things seriously.”

Not only does Dave grow garlic, but he also makes wine out of golden raspberries sweetened with maple syrup on land that he cultivates, grows the berries, and taps the maple syrup, which he has been doing for over 44 years.

Dave is also an Artist and Opera Singer. He is a man of many talents and has led an interesting and self-sufficient life. At the age of 75, Dave works, “Almost 90 hours a week during the summer.”  He believes that work is good for him but hopes to slow down someday to return to other passions including singing opera and woodworking.

“Don’t just be one thing in life, be many things”, Dave said, and explained that often times, “People separate themselves from their work.”  Dave believes that we all have many skills and talents but people get lost focusing on one thing, while other interests or passions get lost along the way. Dave truly inspired me to continue to pursue my varied interests and passions and to fully embrace all of them.

Dr. Garlic is truly one of the most inspiring people I have ever met.  He said he loves the farmer’s market because he gets to meet people and educate them on organic farming. He also shares his passion for healthy food and for sustainable gardening, excelling every organic inch along the way.

Next time you’re at the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, stop by Maplewood Gardens for some great garlic, pure maple syrup, and for some words of wisdom about organic gardening or about life in general, you won’t be disappointed.

Not Your Average Roach Coach

Across the country, there are food trucks and then there are real food trucks, where people are literally selling food off the back of their trucks.

Although most of us have experienced eating from a food truck or what they are humorously called a “Roach Coach”, we enjoy the street experience of eating our grub on the curb where the sights and sounds of the street add to our savory experience.  Food trucks offer a quick and convenient meal on the run whether you are taking a lunch break from work or grabbing something to eat after the bars close.

Over the years, I have ordered and munched from a lot of food trucks in different cities across the country and in Europe, where one of my best meals came from a falafel truck in northwest London.  I remember standing on the street savoring my pita bread and mint yogurt covered falafels right out of its tinfoil wrapper.  This Middle Eastern food truck gave me a new culinary experience that my tastebuds still remember to this day.

I personally would not eat meats or seafood off the back of a random truck for obvious reasons, as well as now being vegan, but think that you have to use good judgment.

Recently I had the opportunity to buy fruit and veggies from a random man selling watermelons and tomatoes from the back of his run-down pickup truck.  After having been disappointed with a purchase of bad fruit from a local grocery chain, I decided to buy directly from the man who brought the fruits and veggies right from the ground to my local street. Not only was the fruit some of the freshest I have ever tasted with no pesticides or chemicals, but I was able to support someone who grew the food from seeds, an experience that the grocery store does not offer.

I’m all about having new experiences whether they be large or small.  Since I no longer have a farmer’s market nearby (or do I?) I find it interesting to connect to the people who still grow and sell fresh fruit and vegetables, which allows me to have a culinary experience of the sweetest kind!