Just like everything else in farming garlic has it's own unique process. From when we plant, to when it's out on the farmstand there are a bunch of steps in between. It's so important to know your food and your farmers that we are going to share the process with you!
It all starts in the fall, just about mid-October. We plant one clove 6" inches in between the next, 1' foot apart and in 3 row sections.
The beds are then covered in straw. The straw provides winter insulation and weed management for the following season when it gets warm.
In the spring it pops through the straw. From early spring until about mid-June we cultivate, keeping the beds clear of weeds that would rob the bulbs of its nutrients.
During this time we are also harvesting the scapes. It is the flower and stem that blooms from the garlic bulb. Scapes are a delicacy in the cooking world and are sold, but more importantly, by harvesting those, it provides more nutrients for the plant and in the end produces a bigger bulb.
If you ever see scapes at our stand or at a farmers market, grab some and experiment. Use them just as you would regular garlic, they are really tasty!
From June forward the plant begins to die back. When the greens turn brown we begin to hand pull the stocks them from the soil.
Some farms use broad forks and undercutting machines, but we do it the old fashioned way
When the harvest is complete we brush the soil from the bulb and rack them. We then store them in a cool dry place, it's just like curing. A fan is also setup to blow air through the stocks to speed up the process. They then have to sit for several weeks and dry before we groom them for the farmstand.
After the bulbs have finished curing we cut the stocks down to 1" inch. We also trim the roots and clean the bulb by hand, pulling back 1 to 2 layers of the skin that surrounds the cloves.
And the finished product, beautiful Mount Hood Garlic!
We bet you didn't know how much work goes into all those little bulbs you see on the supermarket shelves everyday :)
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