Today we did the bulk of our garlic harvest. We still have one bed in the ground, the “trials.” Three years ago, Shannon helped Bob Wildfong from Seeds of Diversity plant 120 different varieties of garlic at Everdale Farm, many of them given to him by Al Picketts from Eureka Garlic in PEI. Bob gave Shannon any extras from each variety. Well, there were extras from over 90 varieties! That fall, Bryan came out to plant it all at Windhorse Farm where we leased land that first year we started Broadfork Farm. Each year since then, we’ve selected out many varieties, offering them to other farmers, seed growers, and community gardeners to continue perpetuating. Once we knew we were buying our farm and moving to River Hebert, we weren’t quite sure what to do with our garlic since we wouldn’t be moving in until after our ideal garlic planting time. David and Cindy from Pleasant Hill Farm came to our rescue and offered us space on their farm to plant it. You can read about last year’s garlic harvest here.
Today’s garlic harvest is the first on our own farm! Tomorrow, we’ll be harvesting the “trials” with our apprentice Jim. We wanted to make sure he got the chance to harvest garlic too. Among the trial varieties are Northern Quebec, Chesnok Red, Purple Glazer, Ukrainian Mavniv, Romanian Red, and an un-named Rocambole. The majority of our main crop is a porcelain variety, likely a strain of Music, along with another unnamed Rocambole variety. Right now our entire garlic crop is hardneck varieties, as we haven’t had much success with softneck garlic. Owen Bridge at Annapolis Seeds hinted that they will have a softneck variety on offer this fall for planting, so perhaps we will have to give that one a go!
Right after harvest we “racked up” all the garlic onto the unused germination table and a make-shift rack in our high tunnel. We prefer racking as opposed to hanging since it allows for ease of culling, handling and cleaning after the garlic has cured, which takes 2-3 weeks depending on how dry the weather is. We picked up the racking technique from Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, NY.
We will also be bringing some garlic to market before it is cured, since fresh garlic is such an amazing thing! We really like to roast or sauté whole cloves, as they get almost a potato-like consistency, smooth and creamy. Certainly good for what ‘ail’s ya!