The sun is shining again and it finally feels like we are back to summer! It just sort of feels like we are pressing pause every couple of weeks while the weather turns upside down and then reverts back to some semblance of normal. Our fruiting crops much appreciate normal these days as do your farmers. This week we were finally able to start getting the garlic out of the ground and as we were going through the annual ritual of digging, tying and hanging, we realized we should probably start some sort of Laporte Garlic Festival for next year. Growing garlic is quite a process and feels more like an old world art than a commercial vegetable crop. Planting begins in October when you have to sort through the years crop and choose only the finest heads to pass on their genetics to next crop. Then we crack all the heads that we would like to plant by hand and we spend a good couple of days planting. Last October we planted 15,000 cloves of garlic from 9 different varieties as each variety does better in different conditions. After a winter of strong root development, the garlic breaks the surface in mid-March and gets weeded and watered until June when we start snapping the scapes and decreasing the water. Finally, in July, we dig it, tie it up, and hang it in our neighbors loafing shed to cure so that it keeps over the long winter months. If you are driving anywhere near the farm these days, just roll down your window and allow the sweet smell of garlic to make you think you are in Tuscany.
The July purgatory continues this week while we wait patiently for the beans and cherry tomatoes to ripen in the heat. This July is perhaps even more in limbo because of the May rains that caused us to skip or delay plantings. There is nothing like local agriculture to remind us just how connected we are to our high desert home. Luckily, there is nothing better than a fresh tomato or crisp green bean and that flavor is worth being patient for. Soon enough!
This Week's Harvest
Summer is the time for salads and grilling. In the land down under, they regularly serve their hamburgers with a nice slice of grilled beet. I have been told grilled kohlrabi is quite the experience and of course one can always put the grill basket on for some grilled zucchini. Make some fresh pesto and toss it with zoodles and fresh green garlic (zucchini noodles) or serve a herbed cucumber and beet salad at your next back yard bbq.