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Apr 15, 2008 03:10 PM

Chinese Garlic at Loblaws [moved from Ontario board]

Am I crazy or am I right to be pissed off at the fact that Loblaws only sells garlic from China? Even the organic garlic is from China. It just seems so stupid - garlic costs 25c a head - how much margin can Loblaws squeeze out of a head of garlic?

Is Loblaws slowly introducing Chinese produce, with garlic the canary in the coalmine? Most orange and apple juice concentrate comes from China these days - so why not ship over the fresh stuff.

I did my curmugeonly best and wrote a letter to them. Maybe if others write too they may take notice.

Free Tibet is great - but I don't mind paying a little extra for my garlic.

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  1. That has been bugging me all winter! I think it's ridiculous to have garlic shipped half way around the world. I've been using garlic sparingly this winter and and sometimes even a dried garlic mix from Ontario. I can't wait for local green garlic to hit the markets, hopefully when they open next month!

    1. I noticed this too and regardless of how it sounds to anyone else I firmly echo your sentiment piggywiggy; that selections other than Chinese imports should be readily available and the consumer dollar should do the decision-making. I distinctly remember having the same problem once at Price Chopper, so I bought a Canadian-made jar of pre-minced garlic instead. It did the trick at the time.

      There are those who will say 'Hey calm down you big spending, over-zealous anti-Chinese bandwagoner' but pardon me for taking my health seriously. This problem pre-dates the Tibet issue and the lead-laden toy issue, most foodies would hopefully know this by the way. I'm actually moving back to Japan this year and I dread the idea of being so far away from Ontario produce and so close to Chinese produce!

      4 Replies
      1. re: 50firstdatesguy

        The sad thing is, there's a good chance that the garlic in your "Canadian-made jar" was probably grown in China, too. Our laws regarding labeling of country of origin are very lax; often they are allowed to say "Made in Canada" even if only the final packaging is done here, regardless of where the product inside came from or was processed.

        1. re: Gary

          This thread seems a little bit dead but I wanted to talk about this whole chinese/canadian garlic thing.

          Since seeing the CBC program on "Made in Canada" I've looked into this. The reason most chain grocery stores don't carry Canadian grown garlic is because we don't have the supply to meet their demand. Price is also a factor but the demand is a big one. You will find some chains such as Lowbals, have Canadian Grown Garlic in some of their stores for 1 month each year, I think normally in August.

          Now why don't these chains import California garlic instead of Chinese? Cost. But if its more that your against the Chinese garlic because of health issues and taste(Its doesn't have as strong of a taste as California or Canadian), then there is a company who jars California Garlic. Their name is Derlea, their based in Toronto.

        2. re: 50firstdatesguy

          I too agree with piggywiggy; tried to look for garlic produced in Canada or the US but couldn't find any at the Loblaws and Super Centers near my home. I find the quality of Chinese garlic very low, they are soft to the touch when in the store and after getting them home they spoil really fast. Usually I use two of the bulbs and throw the rest away because of spoilage. What a waste of money and resources.

          50firstdatesguy - congrats on your move back to Japan! You should have no problems finding good local produce in Japan. The farmers there take so much pride in producing the best food they can. I tried to buy local as much as I could when I lived there -- it's expensive but worth it. While in Tokyo, I paid five times the price for Japanese garlic compared to their cheaper Chinese cousins. I found the Japanese garlic stayed fresh longer, in the end it's less expensive because I can use all the bulbs instead of throwing half away.

          1. re: 50firstdatesguy

            My agreement on the China produce issue is substantial, but I am not so sure that in Japan and Japanese here, that I am always trusting of the wildly coloured vegetables provided in restaurants or by sellers. Food is a trust, and who actually serves Wasabi for instance???? Food in the world certainly does depend on the producers and I most certainly can recall I guess decades ago that we had canners of spoiled Tuna in Canada, sold or human consumption!

          2. No you are not crazy to avoid garlic from China. My wife and I do are best to not knowingly buy anything from there and have been doing so for at least 10 years. (food, appliances, anything)

            Even Pape IGA and Sun Valley only had Chinese garlic all winter, when I asked for non-Chinese garlic at IGA they mentioned others were asking for it also, but because they get whatever the Sobeys buyer orders, thaey have no choice. (and he only buys Chinese garlic) So now I buy garlic at the Big Carrot, it was from South America.

            1. Most of the garlic I've seen recently at all of the chains was from China. Even some absolutely magnificent purple garlic I saw at Nasr was from China.

              1 Reply
              1. re: embee

                To add insult to injury, I read that Chinese garlic has a bitter taste, unlike locally grown product.