Garlic Papers.jpg

The Garlic Papers

By Stanley Crawford

$16.95, 186 pages paperback

Published by Leaf Storm Press

One of the more intriguing books that recently came across my desk was “The Garlic Papers: A Small Garlic Farm in the Age of Global Vampires.”

The author, Dixon, New Mexico, novelist and garlic farmer Stanley Crawford, writes about his experiences in questioning the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to grant an exemption of duties to the largest importer of Chinese garlic. Ultimately Crawford entered the fray of international economics and politics. 

Crawford does not weigh in on the current trade war, although the case does tie into the commerce administrations of President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump. Crawford takes note of the importance of farmers who face a juggernaut in China on the trade front. 

As Crawford wants to make sure United States garlic farmers receive their fair shake his story is also about allies he has entrusted to help push his story. Crawford points to his own disappointments in himself and others. He also shares what he has learned in the world of global trade and the strange bedfellows and legal entanglements that go with it.

His writing style and attention to detail is just as much of a fascination to me as the case he makes about his journey to do what he thinks is right to help set the record straight on anti-dumping practices. 

Crawford only has a handful of acres to grow his garlic plants but he shares a sense of pride in the crop he raises. He rightfully has the same feelings of the Iowa corn farmer and Kansas wheat producer who oversee hundreds or thousands of acres. Throughout the book he writes about the love of farming and what the way of life means. Crawford is no rookie. He and his wife have nurtured the farm for more than 40 years, and he makes upgrades as they make sense to him.

He also writes about the connection he feels when he participates in a local farmers market that is essential to relating the love of the land, even with the challenges such as the weather. Over the years he has gained a greater appreciation of the rural lifestyle.

His fight to help make small garlic producers have solid fitting in the world of global trade will continue. Crawford’s willingness to write from the heart and guide the readers through a front row seat about international trade is ripe for the reading. For Netflix fans, his case was the subject of a documentary episode, “Garlic Breath” in the six-part series “Rotten.”

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or

(1) comment

Garlic Pro

I do not understand the "skin in the game" Crawford has in taking on this case that pits two Chinese garlic importers against each other. It is all pretty much public record, and he even quotes himself in his book that his efforts are going to help other Chinese importers as well as "leveling the playing field of imported garlic with domestic garlic:

Why would a small New Mexican farmer care about helping Chinese importers? He repeatedly mentioned in the book that it will help them:

Chapter 5, page 15: "also level the playing field for smaller Chinese exporters of garlic."

Page 87: "level the playing field of all importers by ending Harmoni's long-term advantage."

Page 108: "My response was, yes, if successful, our actions would benefit other Chinese importers."

Chapter 49, Page 169: I also hoped that it would allow other Chinese importers, at least one of whom became an important ally, to resume trade in the US market.

Altruistic? Financial gain?

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