Meadowlark Farm owned by Jon Watts and Jenny Tutlis, has been growing and reseeding the same beautiful big red cloves of delicious garlic that originally came from a farm in Idaho for about 20 years now. Once the tops of the garlic plants start to die back, then you know it's time to harvest. Growing garlic is an act of faith, since you seed in the fall and then sit back and wait. And then all of the conditions merge for you (or not) and it is time to harvest garlic.
I showed up late for garlic harvesting and much of the work was already underway.
First, a tractor pulls a "tool" through the field to undercut the garlic in the dry field so that it is easy to pull from the ground. Then a crew of people walk along the row pulling and gathering the garlic, laying them in stacks so that the snipping crew that follows can find the bulbs and snip them from the green stalks. The bulbs are layered in black, breathable crates that get stacked and left in a barn to cure. I never knew that garlic cured. Fresh garlic, Jen says, ..."is juicy, full of water and not as strong as it will be as it cures and dries and the pungent flavors condense."
I love garlic but I probably won't see these beautiful bulbs again until later in the season once they've had a chance to dry a bit and cure.
Every harvest, especially on a hot day is accompanied by a refreshing snack and today at the farm was no exception. Jenny prepared a smorgasborg of fresh items to snack on; watermelon, carrots from the farm, chips and salsa, some other dips and fresh made lemonaide. Soon, hands were moving around the table gathering plates of snacks and jars of cool lemonaide. There was munching, laughing, spitting cherry seeds, swinging on swings and gulping fresh cool lemonaide.
This was my first Meadowlark garlic harvest and oh, what a joy to be part of the gathering, cleaning, snipping and layering of this famous Meadowlark Red Garlic... Thankyou Jenny and Jon.
You can see more pictures on my facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Traverse-City-Locavore