My mother left the Ukraine during the second world war. In 1989 the iron curtain was dismantled and she decided it was safe to go back to the Ukraine for a visit in 1992. When she was there she came across the best tasting Ukranian Blue garlic she had ever consumed. She really wanted to bring this garlic back to Canada with her so she decided to smuggle it in her suitcase and she got away with it.
In the fall before heading off south as the snow bird she was she broke apart the few heads of the Ukranian Blue she smuggled and planted the cloves in her garden at the cottage. Over the winter this garlic flourished and in the spring when she came back to the cottage the garlic had began to grow. She was delighted,by summer she had more mature garlic than she started off with with.Over the years she would continue this practice until she had so much garlic she had to figure out something to do with it other than just eating it over the summer and planting it in the fall. She bought a dehydrator and began to dry the garlic cloves. She would purea the cloves into a powder which was the best garlic powder ever. She would always say , you only need to use a teaspoon of the powder as it was so concentrated that the amount of a teaspoon was the same as 1 whole head of garlic. Every fall she would bag the garlic powder and drive it over the American border on her way back south to use in Florida over the winter months. Although the smell of the garlic would surley prove her innocence I would always tease her that if the border patrol would stop and search her he would surely think it was bagged cocaine.
My mother became to old to continue living at her cottage in Ontario. When it was time to pack her things to move her across the country to my home in North Vancouver, British Columbia she asked to me to pack 20 heads of garlic and a few cloths. She was determined to keep her Ukrainian Blue garlic and wanted me to help her plant it in our garden. In the fall we together planted the garlic in rows and waited for summer. Over the winter she noticed that we did not have the same kind of climate she knew so well in Eastern Canada. There were no endless amounts of snow covering the ground where the garlic was planted and no severe cold temperatures she was accustomed to back East. She was worried the entire winter that her prized garlic needed these winter like conditions to survive and not the temperate rain forest conditions of the West Coast. She was certain her prized garlic would only rot in the wet soil.
Spring arrived and mother nature pulled through. New shoots of garlic penetrated through the lustrous dark soil toward the warm sunshine at last. My mother was thrilled and overjoyed. By July the garlic was full grown. With plenty to eat and enough to replant again in the fall she was confident that her Ukrainian Blue would thrive on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada.