Friday, July 27, 2012
Farm Bulletin: Garlic, aka the Stinking Lily
There are very few things that cause me to panic. And even fewer when it comes to cooking. But one of the ingredients I consider a must-have-on-hand is garlic, preferably several heads. Like the Holy Trinity of New Orleans cooking…celery, onions, green peppers…garlic and onions are revered in my kitchen. In this essay contributor Anthony Boutard reveals how the Allium sativum found a home at Ayers Creek Farm.
About eight years ago we received a call from a young couple who asked if they could grow their garlic at the farm. It was early autumn and they had just moved out to Oregon and had an extensive garlic collection they needed to plant immediately. The situation was dire, so we agreed to consider their request. Farm land is either rented for cash or a share of the crop. Cash rent is the most common arrangement, but sharecropping offers some advantages. A few years ago, we agreed to a share in wheat that was grown on the farm. We earned considerably more with this arrangement, but we had to wait longer for the money. He stored the wheat for two years and the price went up nicely. The share is typically a third of the crop for the landowner.
Tito (at left) inspecting the crop.
When Josh and Sarah approached us, we were bulking up on crops for the winter market and it made sense for us to take a share of the actual crop. They would need us to do tractor work, irrigation and other odds and ends, making any sort cash arrangement difficult to calculate. We settled upon a one-fifth share for us. It was generous to them, but we also benefited because it allowed us to share in a very diverse collection of garlics. They had been featured in the New York Times food section, and we referred to them as the Famous Garlic Farmers in earlier newsletters. After four years, they found a place of their own and still grow garlic [at Sacred Organics - KAB]. Josh also works in the produce department of the Cedar Hills New Seasons store. So we will see him over the next few weeks while delivering the Chesters.