Meet the Makers: Wayne & Tracey Schild, Grange Garlic - The Hamilton Hamper

Meet the Makers: Wayne & Tracey Schild, Grange Garlic

Did you know that Australia grows very little of its own garlic? As a country, we actually import most of it from countries such as China. However, on a property just outside of our very own Hamilton, husband-and-wife team Wayne and Tracey Schild are making waves with their intensive horticulture venture, Grange Garlic.

Seven years ago, the pair were searching for a business they could make a living through, a value-adding enterprise from their 48ha property. And after doing some in-depth investigations of other enterprises (meat direct and pastured poultry), they settled on growing garlic. “Garlic was emerging, and we saw a huge opportunity and a market for a locally grown product, high in quality and supplied in fresh,” says Wayne. A local himself, Wayne grew up in the region, and his family was always interested in farming. However, he and wife Tracey took an entrepreneurial path into the garlic industry. He said, "to be involved with something so natural and wonderful from the start; it’s like it's the beginning of all authenticity.”

Over seven years, Grange Garlic has developed three aspects of the business: horticulture (broadacre garlic growing), storage and handling, and a high-tech processing facility. However, it hasn’t been easy, and there have been many hurdles along the way. Firstly, the lack of seed stock, which Wayne said was due to the infantile nature of the Australian industry. Also, garlic is a slow multiplier, and the seed is the number one barrier of entry. Growers can not import or purchase the seed; they must grow it themselves. This results in the Schild’s having to leave a portion of their crop reserved for seed, which slows production. But, their biggest hurdle came in the form of competition and not the local kind. “There are only three or four other commercial-scale growers in Australia,” says Wayne; this is because when it comes to processed, dehydrated garlic, 100% was imported, with China controlling 97% of the world market. With this in mind, instead of competing purely on price, Wayne and Tracey decided to target the fresh, wet minced market, initially focusing on the food service sector, producing an Australian high-quality product. In their first year, the Schild’s sowed 5,000 plants. Now? They have 350,000 plants a hectare with 11 different varieties.

Grange Garlic available from The Hamilton Hamper

It also must be noted Grange Garlic is a family enterprise. Their son Daniel has taken on the role of Operations Manager, and their daughter Tara the Administration Manager. It is fantastic to see a local family business making an enormous contribution to a plant that has such fantastic health-giving attributes. Wayne and Tracey have invested in a lot of research investigating how to preserve allicin, the key health-giving, an immune-boosting component that is formed when garlic is crushed. “Allicin is very unstable and very easily lost, so we are working on the concept of customer awareness,” says Wayne. He continued, “we have searched the world to comprehend where international knowledge is on allicin, and the journey has been problematic, as the chemistry is so multi-levelled, it is a pretty wild tiger to tame.” However, Grange Garlic has been able to stabilise the product under the lid, and because of its health-giving properties, none of the food pathogens can survive it. The process the business has developed respects the active elements of the allicin when garlic is crushed, preserving the compound. “We have a recipe for how we have achieved that, and it is in a vault,” laughs Wayne.

As Grange Garlic grows, the Schild’s are now looking at the opportunities their crushed garlic has on a pharmaceutical level.

And, being only 15 minutes away from The Hamilton Hamper doors, we are excited to see where this business will be taken in the future and are humbled to showcase their products in-store. Wayne mentioned that “knowing that the Greater Hamilton district is very loyal, especially regarding anything local, we were keen to seek local stores interested in stocking Grange Garlic.” He continued, “We know we have a quality product, so we looked for quality stockists, and the Hamilton Hamper stocks a range of local produce, and so we felt we were a good fit.”

We believe we are a great fit too! Here at The Hamilton Hamper, we pride ourselves on showcasing the fantastic local wares, produce and artisan's wares from regional Victoria. If you’re in the area, make sure you pop in and grab yourself some Grange Garlic, we can confirm it has a taste like no other.

Wayne and Tracey have shared with us a great garlic recipe to spice up a meal - we would love to know what you think about it!
SHOP Grange Garlic in-store only - sadly we are not able to post this product.