Garlic is planted in late fall and is the first plant to poke its nose out of the ground in the spring. You already enjoyed the mild flavor of the garlic scapes we included early this season. Removing the scapes makes for larger garlic bulbs. The bulbs are harvested once the plant has decided it is done; late July is garlic harvest season across the Midwest. We completed our harvest this week; you will get to enjoy the harvest for the rest of the season. We will be adding a garlic bulb into your share on a regular basis.

Long term members have enjoyed lots of garlic and likely recall the season that the spring frost killed almost all of our crop. It has taken several years to recover from that loss, but we finally have. For those new to the garlic discussion, we save our own garlic for replanting and have needed about 20% of the harvest just to maintain the current plantings. So if you lose 90% of the crop, you are in trouble.

We decided to purchase some new varieties to add to our diversity. We are very pleased with several of those and are growing out the seed stock so you eventually get to enjoy them. This year we will be adding Italian Red to the CSA deliveries. Our varieties going back many years are German, Music and the mystery variety we’ve named Rose. The other new varieties we are very pleased with, and you will hopefully taste next year, include Chesnok Red and White Russian. Two that are not making the cut after a several year trial are Red Grain and Leah. Two we may give one more chance are Carpathian and Belarus. Yes, there are a LOT of garlic varieties; like hundreds.

Garlic harvest is a bit of a grueling task. Each bulb is unearthed; the dirt needs to be removed from the roots; and, the tops are trimmed for initial curing. The garlic is moved to the upper barn where hay once was stored for dairy cows. The garlic is allowed to dry and cure. We then take each garlic bulb, clip the remaining top and roots, clean off most of the remaining dirt, and deliver it to you. As you can see, this is a lot of hand-work. Enjoy!

David

Tonny in the garlic during the scape harvest.

Tonny in the garlic during the scape harvest.

Paul loading the harvest.

Sophal loading the harvest.

Unearthing garlic bulbs.

Soek and Oun unearthing garlic bulbs.

A crate of bulbs fresh out of the ground.

A crate of bulbs fresh out of the ground.

The harvest curing in the barn.

The harvest curing in the barn.