Monmouth reseachers harvest first garlic crop

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A new crop is spicing up a Monmouth field this summer. It's a first-time harvest with plenty of potential.

There's a strange scene on Thursday, but there are no vampires around.

"It's garlic to my nose," said Angie Peltier, a community agriculture educator with the University of Illinois Extension.

A rumbling tractor helps to harvest an August crop that really stinks.

"That's exactly the way we like it," she said.

The University of Illinois Extension is growing garlic for the first time. It's debuting a variety called "Music."

"It's garlic to my ears," she said.

And it's hitting the right notes.

"It's a profitable crop to grow," said Kyle Cecil, small farm educator with the University of Illinois Extension. "There's a lot of demand. It doesn't take a lot of labor."

They harvest by hand at the test farm. After planting cloves last fall, the garlic turned out huge and historic.

"This is the first vegetable experiment that's ever happened at this research center in 33 years," Peltier said.

Garlic might spice up special crops in Illinois. It's just the right flavor for farmers looking for something new.

Growers experimented with weed control and cover crops. Research will make garlic growing more attractive to Illinois farmers.

"All of the consumers are saying, more garlic," Cecil said.

Clove by clove, it's that strong smell of success.

"If we can grow garlic like this, we might put Monmouth on the map," Cecil concluded.

It's a way to spice up farming while warding off vampires.

The University of Illinois team will plant another test this fall. Some local farmers are adding garlic to their list of crops.