On The Farm- July 26
Enormous thanks go out to the Poggi and Scannell families for making this year’s garlic harvest happen quickly and pleasantly on one of the hottest days of the summer.
Last fall we planted the best individual cloves of garlic saved from that year’s harvest. Some of you made holes, others pressed the solid cloves in and covered them first with soil and a blanket of straw. As winter approached the garlic took root, growing just enough to establish itself, but not enough to penetrate the layer of straw protecting the tender garlic from the winter elements. In the spring, the established garlic took off. It is always the first green to emerge on the farm, coaxed up and out by the increasing heat and spring sun. The garlic flourished and we ate tender new scapes, while the bulbs continued to mature and grow.
Last week the garlic seemed to reach its peak of maximum growth and intact papery, protective layers around the sensitive cloves. It was ready to be harvested. With a full jug of water to drink and a child on duty to mist hot workers, we pulled each bulb. Some bulbs required a fork to loosen them from to soil, others simply need two hands and a firm tug. Steadily we made our way down the rows, pulling, shaking off excess dirt, and bunching the garlic. The plants called for two trips in the pick-up, shuttling them to their drying space. And now, as I weed and trellis in the field, 2,400 bulbs of garlic hang in the stable, safe from the rain, swaying in the breeze, steadily losing moisture and developing their full flavor.