The Great Garlic Harvest: Day One

By Emily Sklar

Hi, my name is Emily. I’m a student from Kalamazoo College, and I am interning on the farm this summer. At Kalamazoo I’m studying Biology. You, like many others, may ask: “what are you going to do with a degree with Biology?”. Good question- I don’t know. So on a search to find a summer internship that would help me narrow down my career options, I was introduced to Lisa McDowell. She told me about the farm and I was overjoyed. I wanted nothing more than to spend my entire summer outside. See, one of my hobbies includes backpacking. I love being outside in the fresh air. I love backpacking so much that my spring plans include beginning a through hike of the Appalachian Trail. This trek will (hopefully) be a part of my senior thesis project at Kalamazoo to study different aspects of the trail including conservation efforts, sustainability, ect. . .

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Now with summer planned, I spend a few hours on the farm four days a week. Today, we began our garlic harvest. As mentioned in the pervious post, the garlic is planted in the fall and is harvested the following summer. When Farmer Dan planted this garlic, he made sure they had a healthy environment to grow in by giving the plants a generous amount of compost. The seeds planted were just cloves of garlic. Growing garlic is relatively low maintenance- just let them grow. However, there is a short window in june when Farmer Dan harvested the garlic scapes. A garlic scape is another edible part plant. Not only are the scapes delicious, harvesting them allows the plant to divert all its energy into growing the bulb. The garlic that we harvested today is a variety called German Extra Hardy. It is larger than the garlic found in the grocery stores, and generally has larger cloves too (it also tastes a lot better). The garlic harvest was pretty simple too! We used a digging fork to loosen the soil, and then we pulled the bulbs up! The garlic harvested today will be kept in a cool, dry place to allow it to cure. This will allow the garlic to last longer. This variety will last until December!

Hope to see you this week at the Farmer’s Market to try some of our freshly picked garlic! Keep visiting the market to try different varieties as they are harvested.

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