90 Years Ago in The Diamondback: Protecting Maryland from the Garlic Menace

90 years ago today, The Diamondback’s “Agricultural Notes” section reported that:

Agricultural Notes for 10/12/1922

Intriguing! So, what was the nature of the threat that garlic posed to the state of Maryland? While it’s fun to think that perhaps vampires were somehow involved, University Archivist Anne Turkos uncovered the truth in the August 1, 1922 issue of the Baltimore Sun.

It turns out that 95% of the wheat grown in the state at that time was graded as “garlicky,” and farmers lost up to $2 million a year due to the low value of the contaminated grain. The taste of garlic could even be detected in milk. Similar problems also plagued farmers in nearby Pennsylvania, and the joint anti-garlic campaign by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Pennsylvania State College was expected to be successful. Following this example, the Maryland Farmer suggested that the University of Maryland get to work on the problem. The University took up the charge, making Maryland more hospitable to vampires and farmers alike.

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