Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Diva Farms Garlic

It’s a long way from Italy for Margherita Schuller, president of Diva Farms, Ltd., as she sits in her Utica, NY office, overseeing the packing of the latest garlic shipments.

“We’ve been selling garlic since 1994,” Schuller says, with her lilting Italian accent, “ and there isn’t anything we can’t make with garlic. It’s so versatile.”

Schuller and her husband started the business in upstate New York, but shortly after the business started her husband was stricken with a heart attack and Schuller was left with a new business and two small children.

“What could I do but go on,” says Schuller. “It was either run the business or go on welfare and I could never do that.”

So Schuller put in the long hours required to get a fledging business off the ground, and now over a decade later, Diva Farms is proud to be a successful business with national customers in retail grocery chains and in foodservice venues.

Schuller remembers the early days as a struggle, but now worth every minute.

“My children are grown and now I have a new granddaughter, and I am thrilled to have cared for my children and to have grown Diva Farms.”

Garlic has always been a key ingredient in Italian cooking, but Schuller notes that garlic has extended far beyond the Italian culinary realm.

“Our customers use garlic in everything,” says Schuller. “Here at Diva Farms, we think every recipe is made better with garlic.”

Because Diva Farms focuses on garlic, Schuller and her team have taken the core products of whole, fresh garlic and minced garlic in jars purchased in the produce section into line extensions of flavored garlic and garlic spread. An organic line is also available.

“Our flavored garlics have been a real hit,” says Schuller. “Using these flavored garlics give a delightful enhancement to meats, poultry and fish, and of course, any pasta dish. They’re also good in salad dressings or on salads.”

The flavored garlics are available in oregano, basil, parsley and red pepper and are available in a 8 oz. glass jar.

“Chefs love the easy to use flavored garlics because it makes their job easier – it takes out one more step in them having to find the right seasoning,” notes Schuller.

Diva Farms garlic spread makes appetizers easy with its base of high-quality margarine combined with pure Italian Romano Cheese, parsley and garlic. The Garlic Spread can be used on crackers, crustinis or added to any dish to enhance the flavor.

In addition to its culinary uses, garlic has long been favored for its herbal and medicinal properties.

Through the centuries, garlic has been used for coughs and colds, to lower blood pressure and for a variety of infections and digestive disorders.

But, even if garlic didn’t have medicinal properties, Schuller and the folks at Diva Farms would still be selling the market’s best garlic.

“We love garlic here at Diva Farms. Every jar we send out has our love in it. Maybe that’s why it’s so good,” she adds with a smile.

Diva Farms recently joined Inside Small Biz, an organization for Small Business Owners that helps small companies develop new business opportunities.

“We are excited about Inside Small Biz,” says Schuller. “We’re ready to take our business to the next level and to have the whole world know about our garlic.”

Diva Farms, Ltd. sources high-quality garlic grown specifically for Diva Farms and processes it in its Utica, NY facility. The garlic is shipped to retail and foodservice customers around the country. Customers and consumers can order from Diva Farms by visiting or calling (315) 735-4397.

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