By Derek Schlennstedt
In what is arguably the smelliest heist of the year, between 300 and 400 kilograms of garlic was stolen from a Gembrook property.
Between 26 and 27 November a group of garlic pilferers ravaged a Gembrook garlic crop, making off with over $10,000 worth of the odorous vegetables.
The potent and pungent pearls of life never stood a chance and were ripped from their cosy and fertile soil home. It is an utter travesty and we mourn for you sweet garlic bulbs.
In a post on Facebook, owner Leah McLeod said she was devastated, but would not give up on her farming dream.
“Late Sunday or Monday night, my entire garlic crop was stolen from the field,” the post read.
“Approximately 300-400kg’s of Australian and Italian garlic was taken (valued anywhere between $10-15,000) leaving me with these small bulbs that I cannot sell.
“Although this has been devastating and disheartening, I’m not giving up on my dream of becoming a successful farmer – I’ll be back with gusto and garlic next year.”
All of the organically grown garlic in the one acre plot was stolen except for a few ‘duds’ which were left over.
After leaving her office job earlier this year Ms McLeod devoted much of her time to her newfound hobby of growing garlic.
“I was just so sick of staring at a screen and not seeing the sunshine,” she said
“So, I saved up a heap of money, quit my job and put money into the farm – it’s been about seven months’ worth of work.
“It was so enjoyable and it was one of those things where you’re born to do this.”
Emerald Police are investigating the incident and believe the garlic may be on-sold, or that it may be used to replant a garlic crop.
Ms McLeod’s Facebook post has since been shared over 900 times and although she conceded that she may have to take on a temporary office job, she assured the Mail she’d return to farming.
Despite the immense support from the community, including a GoFundMe offer, she urged people to donate to drought stricken farmers instead.
“I’m truly touched by the overwhelming support I’ve received from the community,” she said.
“Everyone wants to start A GoFundMe for me, but this was a hobby project and so I’m not bankrupt from it.
“The attention shouldn’t be on this … if anyone wants to donate in my name, donate to RuralAid, or any organisation that helps the farmers.”
Anyone with information or who may have seen suspicious activity between 26 November and 27 November is urged to contact Senior Constable Matthew Jukes at Emerald Police on 5954 0200.