John Boy Farms is a fifth-generation family farm that has been growing crops since 1879. The operation is located in the fertile Red River Valley of southern Manitoba, 20 minutes from Winnipeg. Manitoba has a continental climate, which means very cold winters, hot summers and challenging growing conditions for garlic. This extreme environment is perfect for selecting and adapting the strongest, most vigorous garlic seed varieties. This means that garlic grown by John Boy Farms is ideal for use as seed stock for almost any growing conditions in Canada.
The farm is currently managed by John and his wife Ainsley. They are helped by John's parents, who still actively work on the farm and Ainsley's father who helps with sales. Their siblings, nieces and many cousins all pitch in as well when needed.
John is an agronomist with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture and has been using his knowledge and experience to research and develop growing techniques suitable for the extreme Canadian prairie environment. He began growing garlic in 2006 and now specializes in producing cold-hardy varieties that thrive under Canada's cold climate conditions.
John has also focused on gathering the best Canadian Heritage Varieties available from across the country. All the garlic stock he has chosen over the years has had to meet certain criteria, including, great flavour, good bulb size, strong plant vigour, and tolerance for a wide range of growing conditions.
The farm now offers its premium garlic seed and food garlic to Canadian customers through its online store.
John Boy Farms uses traditional growing methods that have been adopted by organic growers. The farm never sprays their garlic with pesticides, always uses cover crops and has long crop rotations.
Every plant is individually inspected multiple times during the growing season and at harvest. Any garlic that appears weak and/or shows signs of disease or infection is always removed immediately and destroyed to ensure only the strongest, healthiest garlic seed is kept.
John also works closely with extension staff from the provincial agriculture department to help monitor and ultimately prevent new pests/diseases from entering the farm's seed garlic stocks.
For more information on how they grow their garlic, see the Growing Garlic pages and look for the little symbol. If you have any questions about the farm or want to discuss anything, please feel free to contact John.