Garlic Harvest Party 2012

“You should market this as therapy!”

(This said by a seasoned shareholder, once again happily pitching in to get ‘er done. He’s hand-pulled garlic from the field for a number of years now. We are so happy to see him, hear it’s therapeutic, and visit for awhile over some work and food.)

Thanks be to all who’ve pitched in, attended, enjoyed, ate and visited!

I know, I know, I asked for a lot of help in this last week. 4 separate days. Believe me when I say we’ve needed it! We had CSA members, friends of the farm and family come out, pitch in, brighten our days, lighten our loads, and share food together again and again! We re-connected with old friends and met new ones too! We’ve had visitors from 1 month old (to the day!), on up to 70 years plus. Each and every one of you really brought something special to us, and to the CSA too.

We all have your helping hands to thank for the great food that left our fields for your plates!

This said, I did hear from many that you’d really like to come on out, just couldn’t on those particular days. No sweat. Come whenever you can! We really love visitors. You boost our morale. We love to share what great abundance and opportunity we have. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the days we most benefit from help. We’ve got deadlines and pressures to deliver those days. Extra hands really help a lot.  But come whenever your schedule allows!

Here are a few photos and explanations from the Garlic Party 2012. I start with a few of us in the shade. To be clear: it isn’t all work. Breaks are allowed whenever, as needed. No pressure on you. And if you just do not want to work, come for the meal. Share some food. Help us hydrate. Visit some. Visit a lot. Support the workers. Support your food community. And participate. It’s really quite easy.

The food was fantastic. We had vast and abundant contributions from all- shared all around! It was delectable. No pictures. No more details. You had to be there. It’s the greatest reward!

Because we get such massive kick-backs in the form of the latest, most cutting edge, free farming equipment, I have to include a few brand-name shots……. Actually, our tractor is older than me and my children’s ages all added together. I’m proud that it runs, not that it’s old. It was in our price range. It’s paid for. Amen. It trailered the garlic out of the fields. Other than that, it’s all hand and back work. Yes, many hands do make much lighter work!    

 The soil had been greatly loosened by the many recent and heavy rains. The deep straw mulch also kept the soil nice and light. We’ve found the easiest and best, most fail-safe way to harvest the garlic from the ground is to just pluck each plant out by hand. Pluck, pluck, pluck….. We’ve had three year olds on up sucessfully and happily pull garlic. We crate the garlic, stalk and all. Then we load these full crates into a trailer and take them to the shade.  Here’s a full trailer, pluckers almost half way done already. Just about the whole field was pulled by lunch. One or two more sets of hands and it would’ve been out no doubt! 

 Ahhh… the shade feels nice for us and for the garlic! Everybody’s cooler in the shade. We can sit and work, work and chat, work and work. Cool drinks right at hand. Here we clip the stem from the bulb, one-by-one. This is where the hand pruners come in handy. Thanks be to all who brought their own sets of pruners – Many pruners make nice, light work!Again, helpers age three on up, just watch your fingers. Clip, clip, clip…. It was all clipped by five.

We then place the garlic bulbs loosely and thinly into onion sacks. You can sit, you can stand, just stuff some garlic bulbs into little sacks. Stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff…. This took 5 of us about 2.5 hours. 2 of us were under the age of ten. I wasn’t the oldest, or was I? In these sacks, the garlic is very breathable and ready to hang for curing. This picture was taken at 9:30 at night, garlic’s all sacked and crated, ready to be hung for curing. Needless to say, we went to bed after a shower. 

I hung each bag, individually in the rafters of our shed. I worked on this alone for 6 hours. We’ll let the garlic cure for 10 days, 2 weeks. Then we’ll clean it up some and deliver it to you, week after week. We definitely could use help from here forward to sort and clean the bulbs. This is slow, meticulous work. Best done seated. Good work to talk and visit over. Why play cards when you can clean garlic together!

Here’s some of the garlic curing in our shed. It’ll be coming to your plate soon! 

 Again, 10,000 Thanks to All who’ve been so graciously helpful and involved this past week! 

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