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Celeste may be the most unusual Rocambole in the USA today because it grows well in warm winter areas as well as throughout mid-America. All other Rocamboles grow only in the northernmost tier of States. I have even grown these well in central Texas a couple of times duringh hot dry years and they grew well and were of nice size but early high temps forced them to mature early so they did not get quite as big as they normally would have gotten.
These garlics were found growing in the 1970s on an old civil war battlefield over a hundred years after the battle north of present day Tulsa, OK. Through natural selection these garlics have become adapted to the area over the decades. Since it is a cold winter hardneck garlic, I speculate that it fell from the pocket of a Union soldier. In the Indian Territory of Oklahoma, tribal members of one persuation fought tribal members of the other persuation, splitting families and friends just like in the rest of the country.
Celeste is a big, robust, hot, strong flavored, hardy garlic. If you grow other later harvesting, longer storing garlics, you should also be growing this early harvesting hardneck that stores surprisingly long, especially for a Rocambole. Grows well in most areas of the USA. There is some question whether it is a Rocambole or a Glazed Purple Stripe so I will list it in both pages to be sure.
The owner of the land, Terry Celeste, was the one who discovered them as runts and moved some to his garden and kept on growing them out and replanting the biggest and best until the fine big-bulbed strain we have today was developed. Since his name means heavenly and he viewed them as a gift from heaven, he named them Celeste.
Their taste is as as unusual as the fact that it grows in warmer winter areas in that it is sassy, slap your face hot and has distinct sub-flavors of hot mustard and Horseradish. It does not have the deep earthy muskiness nor does it have the heavy aftertaste that most Rocamboles have. Its taste is Truly as unique as this garlic itself is. If you are looking for a hot garlic with a unique personality, this one is for you.
Taste test - Wow! I bit a chunk out of a clove of Celeste and sat back to see what life would be like for the next minute or two and at it came on with an astonishing suddenness and just kept increasing in hotness and all I could do was to sit there with my mouth agape as if in a trance until the hotness peaked after about 30 seconds and slowly dissipated without leaving any aftertaste at all. I was stunned at its pungency.
Rocamboles are not normally long storing garlics and usually harvest in early summer and store into winter at room temp. Terry Celeste says that his garlics usually store a year or more. Of course, we cannot guarantee that kind of storage but this garlic is so unusual that it would not surprise me to find that Celeste is a very long storing garlic.