Garlic and other Summer Treats

Second Garlic Harvest 2010

It has been brutally hot these last few days, and working in the gardens comes down to the choice between the mosquito-thick early and late hours when the temperatures are moderated, or the blasted heat of the midday, when the bugs retreat to the shade.

Yesterday, I chose the heat, and dug out the rest of the garlic crop–about sixty heads.  It had dried down enough in the field that I couldn’t risk leaving it in and putting it through another rain, which might cause the skins to split.

The first harvest came out a couple of weeks ago, and has been drying down on racks in the basement with a fan and dehumidifier.  It’s not as warm as the garlic would like it, but it seems to be curing nicely.

The Thursday and Saturday markets this week were pretty good–Saturday still needs to hit its stride, but we’re seeing our regular produce vendors starting to show up with squash, beans, cukes, and sweet corn.

We had a vendor up from Merrill, Iowa this Thursday with their hoophouse tomatoes, and I shamelessly bought $17 worth–not having any ripe yet out in my fields.  They are coming!

After an hour harvesting a few beans and squash this morning, and then three on the hot pavement at the market, I decided I’d paid my outdoor dues for the day and have resolved to hide in the house.  Uncharacteristically, I spent about an hour lying on the couch–just soaking up the cool and listening to the radio.

And then Splendid Table came on, and I started thinking about dinner at one o’ clock in the afternoon.  I’ve still got some nice-looking tomatoes from C. Brown Gardens, and a few bunches of herbs left over from my own Thursday market table–bronze fennel and gorgeous Prezzemolo Gigante parsley.

I might venture outside for a moment to pinch a couple of basil leaves to add to my tomato salad, along with a small clove of garlic pressed from my personal stash.

Looking in the fridge, it occurred to me that I’ve got to do something about all those eggs.  We eat a lot of them in the winter months, but in summer, they sit and sit.

After putting almost two dozen in a tub of water, I determined that there were several that shouldn’t be eaten (they floated), but I still had a nice quantity for deviled eggs–one of those favorite foods that I almost never make.

There’s a few other bits and pieces that need eating–half a cabbage that could make a nice coleslaw; a small bag of beans that could be steamed for a warm or cold salad.  Maybe the cabbage and steamed, cooled beans could be combined with some shredded carrot in a sweet/savory vinaigrette?

I blame it entirely on Lynne Rossetto Kasper that I’m putting together dinner hours before I usually do, but after broiling in the morning sun, there was little that could have gotten me off the couch besides picturing good local food and plenty of it!


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