Otus Branch Farm is owned and operated by Richard Boylan. The farm experiments with a number of crops, but presently focuses on hardneck garlic varieties as its main product. Richard began growing garlic in the North Carolina High Country in 2002. Although the farm has experimented with nearly twenty different varieties over the year, it has gradually culled-out the lesser performers for this region. The five varieties Otus Branch presently grows have all adapted extremely well to the NC High Country (the cooler end of USDA Zone 6, at roughly 3,100’ elevation) during cool, warm, wet, and dry years alike. Having sent garlic to friends and buyers in environments as diverse as eastern Massachusetts, northern New Jersey, the foothills of NC, and Central New York, Richard can say with some confidence that with proper care, these varieties of garlic can perform well in USDA Zones 4-7. Garlic scapes are available in June, and garlic bulbs are now available on the food hub!
Otus Branch follows all the standards for soil health, fertilizer usage, crop rotation, and other natural management of the USDA National Organic Program but is not at present certified-organic, as the farm does not yet sell more than $5,000 of produce per year. Although Otus Branch hopes to grow beyond that threshold in the future, and will gladly become certified-organic at that time, right now the farm is small scale. The farm site leased by Otus Branch at present was previously managed by Against the Grain Farm, a certified-organic operation now based in Zionville, NC, so Richard knows from personal communication with them that previous years’ management were also fully organic. In general, Otus Branch follows the recommendations of ATTRA’s guide for organic garlic production. For any other details about our fertility and pest-management programs, feel free to ask further questions!