through the seasons

We are right on the very cusp of the real physical work of growing good food. Though now we are much in the middle of the plan and preparation. That’ll always keep up. It’s a fabulous swirl of all sorts of thoughts, calculations, plans, arrangements, purchases, back-bending, marketing, hoping that enough people once again sign up soon!, studying, re-calculating, fretting, and a whole array of flat-out doing!

We’ve been working on mincing garlic lately. It’s difficult not to get steeped in this work. The essential oils of real good garlic are persistent. It’s been somewhat meditative. Mostly as regards garlic, frankly. Though also with the rhythm of the growing season and a small family farm. Thought I’d share some photos in the long and varied life of garlic throughout the year. Hope you enjoy!

This is this year’s garlic patch, March 2012. Planted fall 2011, to be harvested mid-2012. It’s about a nine month crop, like many flowering bulbs. We mulch it heavily with certified organic straw. This moderates the growing conditions of the garlic, temperature and moisture-wise. This year, 2011/2012, I have wondered how the repeated and shallow freeze/thaw cycles might have affected the garlic cloves. I know the heavy mulch has helped.

I couldn’t easily come across a picture of the growing fields of our garlic in 2011. So we’re skipping right to harvest time! The Garlic Harvest Party has been great fun and good work done. The CSA community gathers to work and visit, eat and enjoy. Thanks be to all of you!

Pulling a trailer load of freshly picked garlic out of the field and to the next stage of harvest care.

Lots of helping hands clipping the garlic necks and placing in crates. Pretty nice work, seated in the shade with good company and a refreshment at hand!

We’re skipping a photo of the curing of the garlic. We cure the garlic heads by hanging for a time. It concentrates and fortifies, and becomes ready to store (we think of it like a grape becoming a raisin, as far as taste concentrating). This is garlic cleaned and sorted, ready for eating!

These are individual cloves – ready to plant or eat! Plant them in the fall – eat them all other times!

These are peeled cloves – ready to eat or mince. We usually mince and store our home eating garlic. We minced some in the fall and we’re mincing now. Soon we will have minced garlic for sale! The only caution I have: you’ll find you and your family eat significantly more garlic when it’s already minced and so absolutely convenient to use!

I just thought it was so beautiful, I had to show two pictures, at least. Can you smell it or taste it?

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