Guza Produces Garlic with Family

Joanna Guza, farm director for Midwest Communications, Inc., raises her kids by showing them how to produce garlic on a small operation in Denmark, Wisconsin.

“I’ve always had an interest in gardening, and my husband and I bought our house in 2018,” Guza said. “We had a small piece of land, and my husband started looking at crops we could grow. We picked garlic, and we started by planting only five pounds.”

They sell it to neighbors and friends, and they started small to educate people about garlic varieties.

“We grow hardneck garlic, and it comes in different varieties ranging in spicy to mild,” Guza said. “Most people didn’t even know what hardneck garlic was, and people would tell us they bought their garlic at the grocery store.” 

The Guza family has grown its operation to 10 times the size it started. Last year, they planted approximately 55 pounds of garlic, and Guza predicts it will yield around 300 pounds. The whole family has a part in the garlic operation.

“I keep all the data, so I know how much we planted and harvested,” Guza said. “I do all the weeding and communication like running our website, emails, and social media. I also coordinate pickup days for people to get their garlic.”

Her husband handles the machinery and helps with planting and harvesting.

“My husband is the mastermind behind the operation,” Guza said. “He created our dibbler so we can plant 60 cloves at once. He also runs the tiller, helps make the raised beds, and applies fertilizer. It is a team effort.”

The couple works together during harvest time to wrap up the season.

“We harvest it, clean it, package it, and weigh it to get it ready to sell to people,” Guza said.

The Guzas also have three children who help with the garlic and enjoy learning about agriculture in a hands-on method.

“Mary is 4 years old, and Bruce is 2 years old. Our youngest, Eva, is 11 months old,” Guza said. “Mary helps with cleaning the garlic, and I have tried to get her to help with weeding. I really like for the kids to come outside while I work in the garlic patch to play and be outdoors.”

Guza and her husband were FFA state officers in Wisconsin, and they want to pass on a legacy of agriculture to their kids.

“Brian and I both grew up on farms, but we didn’t have a farm when we moved to our current house,” Guza said. “We gained so much from growing up in agriculture, and it shaped us into the people we are today. We thought it would be great to do the same thing for our kids so that they have responsibilities and learn about where their food comes from at an early age.”