Martin Reichert is seen at E&T’s booth at the Eastern Ontario Garlic Market held in September 2022 at Lamoureux Park in Cornwall.  Thompson Goddard Photo

MOREWOOD – Operated by Martin and Lorna Reichert, E&T Studio is located on a quiet side street in Morewood, in the renovated and revitalized former Morewood Presbyterian Hall. The name is derived from the first two letters of their grandchildren’s names. Martin explained the building serves as a workshop for his woodworking business and space for drying their garlic after it is harvested.

Walking through the studio, you notice how the woodworking and garlic businesses are an integral part of Lorna and Martin’s life. There are garlic bulbs in bins, woodworking materials, machines for both businesses located in the building.  When asked about providing some advice to young entrepreneurs, Martin commented, “My advice is do what you love. If you do it for the profit it will eventually become a burden. If you do it because you love it, it will never seem like work.”

Garlic is a close relative of the onion, leek, shallot, and chive and is native to sections of Asia. People have used garlic for thousands of years for medicinal and culinary reasons. The couple had a Community Supported Garden, growing a wide selection of vegetables, before eventually beginning to cultivate only garlic. In 1998 when they bought garlic from a Metcalfe grower, Martin explained an early thaw followed by a cold snap resulted in a less than optimal garlic harvest.  After investigating different types of garlic, Martin purchased music garlic in Western Ontario, eventually planting and harvesting 25 varieties.

In 2022, they planted 12 ½ rows of garlic plants, with each row approximately 150 feet long, utilizing between 8,500 and 9,000 garlic cloves. Martin explained garlic is planted around Thanksgiving and covered with straw that help it to inhibit the growth of weeds, moisture retention and warmth. The root begins to develop before the garlic plant enters its dormant stage. As the warmer weather arrives in spring, it starts growing through the straw with the scapes, which are sometimes harvested for use as flavouring for foods, an indication of the plants’ growth.

Martin commented he generally removes the scapes in July, which helps condition the growing garlic bulb, so the process of drying can begin. He explained harvesting depends on the growth of the plant, noting an indication of harvest readiness as “indicated when the leaves begin to turn yellow from the end in.” Describing how a small machine is used to gently lift the bulbs out of the ground, the garlic is prepared for drying, with Martin explaining there are a variety of drying methods, however he utilizes circulating fans and bread trays. Once the drying process is completed, generally in a couple of weeks, the garlic is ready for sale to consumers.

Garlic is sold in a variety of locations such as vegetable and farmers’ markets, farm stands and in food stores, with Martin mentioning how fresh Canadian garlic is being offered into November. He continued how the price of garlic is increasing as growers seek to make a reasonable return on their crop. In addition to selling his garlic at his home, Martin has attended both the Carp Garlic Festival and the Eastern Ontario Garlic Market in Cornwall and is planning to expand into local farmers’ markets in 2023.

The organizers of the Eastern Ontario Garlic Market invited Martin to bring some of his woodworking pieces to the event. Martin explained he has a longstanding interest in woodworking, which he attributes to working with Greg Ulmann, who operated a picture framing business in the Russell area. His work currently includes creating cutting boards, charcuterie boards and mirror frames. He has developed several designs of mirror frames in a variety of sizes and does custom work.

More information can be obtained on E&T Studio by calling Martin at 613-502-1011.

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