Contents of basket: fresh garlic, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, mesclun, lettuce, parsley, choice of kale or Swiss chard, choice of grean beens, cauliflower or eggplant, new potatoes
Recipe of the week: Spaghettini all’arrabbiata
This week’s newsletter will be dedicated to one of our most loved, if often taken for granted, crops- garlic! Last week we harvested all of this year’s garlic crop- over 3500 bulbs! That should be more than enough to get us all through the year! As the basis for a huge range of dishes, it’s worth taking the time to understand the subtleties of this unique plant.
A year in the life of a garlic plant…Garlic is planted as individual cloves at the end of October (we’ll invite you to the farm to help out, so stay tuned!), so that it can set roots before the ground freezes, and get an early start in the spring. In June it sends up a flower stalk- which we harvest and give to you as garlic scapes. As the days begin to shorten, the garlic bulbs out and is ready to harvest by the end of July. And when we pull the garlic plant from the ground, we see the beautiful bulb that has multiplied out from the clove we planted in the fall. Once harvested, garlic can be eaten fresh and kept for a few weeks in the fridge or cured for a couple of weeks in a dark, ventilated area to prepare it for longer-term storage.
Most of the garlic that is sold in Quebec is imported, often from China or South America, and of the type known as Rocambole. This type of garlic has 6-10 small cloves per bulb that are relatively easy to peel. They are generally less pungent and have more nuanced flavours than other types. Given good conditions, they can be stored until January or so.
However, garlic from Quebec is becoming increasingly popular, and most of the local crop is of the Porcelain type. Porcelain garlic has only 3-6 cloves per bulb, but individual cloves can be quite large. This type of garlic is strong, hot, and pungent. They store until at least April!
Here at the farm, we grow several varieties of both types of garlic, to offer you the full garlic experience. This week you’ll receive fresh garlic in your basket, so be sure to store it in the fridge, although you have a few week to a month to use it.