The garlic plants have put on little wispy elf hats. Each of these whimsical additions curls downward on a long, thin stem emerging from the center of the leaf stalk, a sure sign that the garlic will be ready to harvest in a few weeks.

In truth, these are garlic scapes, the flowering stalks that appear on hardneck garlic, such as the Chesnok Red variety I am trying this year. Pulling the scapes – a firm, steady tug detaches them from the rest of the plant with a satisfying pop! – encourages the plants to put more energy into bulb production rather than the flowers. And then we get to eat these springtime delicacies.

Much like a garlicky green onion, garlic scapes can be added to salad, stir-fry, quiche, soup, or even garlic scape pesto. Really, anywhere that you would use garlic or green onions, you can use garlic scapes. Just give them a rinse, trim off the bud end (or “elf hat”), and chop up the rest of the stem, or thinly slice them to use raw.

If you’d like to give them a try, I’ll have bundles of garlic scapes for sale at the Broadway Community Market this Saturday, 8am-noon! I’ve also been picking lots of sugar snap peas this week, and I still have plenty of sweet, crisp head lettuce and tender kale. Of course, you will also find garlic salt, aloe plants, and crocheted items on my table.

Keep an eye on the Broadway Community Market Facebook page for details about an upcoming giveaway opportunity! Each purchase made at the market during the month of June will enter you to win some fantastic prizes from Fairydiddle Farm and other vendors.

See you at the market!

The past couple weeks have seen a flurry of planting. Each morning I head outside, garden knife in hand, and dig little holes, tuck in little plants. They look sad in their tiny plastic cells, but somehow once they find themselves in the garden, they suddenly appear stronger, greener. And yet still so frail; just a few too many slug nibbles can devastate a plant.

Planting is an exercise in faith. I put a tiny green plant in the ground, or a miniscule seed, and trust that it will grow. I water, weed, prune, trellis, and watch for new shoots of growth, wait for flowers, hope for an abundance of fruit.

I am almost done with summer planting – just the paste tomatoes and second patch of beans to go. In the past two weeks, I’ve transplanted and sown cherry and slicing tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, cucumbers and cucamelons, zucchini and yellow squash, beans, basil, winter squash, and sweet potatoes. Mornings are the best part of my day. Sweaty, dirty, and full of purpose and hope.

Speaking of mornings, you can help make my Saturday mornings awesome too! Come out to the Broadway Community Market this Saturday between 8am and noon to help support this little farm as well as the many other local business set up there. I hear we’ve got a new vendor this week with specialty sandwiches and lattes!

At my booth you’ll find lots of leafy greens (kale and head lettuce!), radishes, possibly the first of the sugar snap peas, garlic salt, aloe plants, and 100% cotton crocheted items.

See you at the market!

It begins with a clove, buried in the soil on a warm day in late autumn. Long after the rest of the garden has been put to bed for the winter, green shoots poke up from the cold earth in the garlic patch. By spring, the leaves have taken shape, and the stems begin to thicken, hinting at swelling bulbs beneath the surface. And then those leaves start to turn brown, in June, and a digging fork loosens the soil to reveal plump, white garlic bulbs. These can be used fresh, of course, but hanging them up to cure for a few weeks will help them keep through winter.

Take it a step further. Separate the cloves, peel off their papery skin, slice them, dehydrate them. Breathe deeply; inhale the permeating aroma of garlic. Run the crispy garlic pieces through a small blender until they become a fine powder. Mix the powder with sea salt. Dry it again, in the oven this time. Bottle it. Enjoy.

Garlic salt takes a lot of work to produce, but the work doesn’t happen all at once, and the result is worth it.

If you’ve bought garlic salt from me before, you may notice a difference in color with this batch. Previously, I made it with pink Himalayan salt, but I have since learned that is a finite resource and switched instead to sea salt, which results in a paler – but no less flavorful – final product.

So, I will finally have more garlic salt at the market this Saturday! Because it’s handmade with my own garlic, I have a limited quantity, so you’ll want to come out in the next couple weeks to make sure you get a bottle. I will also have the first heads of lettuce, lots of kale, and a few bunches of radishes, as well as crocheted items and aloe plants.

See you at the market!