Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vampires Beware!

There is a shortage of seed garlic in the land! And although this might seem like a good thing for vampires, it actually suggests that more folks are planting garlic and soon little plots of homegrown garlic will make it impossible for hungry vampires to find a place to land - sorry, fans of the Twilight series!

The Frog Holler garlic crop was a little pathetic this year. Although I would like to blame it on vampire intervention, I have to admit that the weeds got the better of the patch, despite the heavy mulch we applied last fall. Luckily for us, a dear friend and ace garlic grower had more garlic than she knew what to do with, so sold us a nice selection of healthy garlic bulbs for our planting pleasure.

Did you know garlic comes in many flavors? We have always planted "Music", a homegrown standard known for its flavor and reliable yield - we love its robust richness and also like the name! Bur now, thanks to our friend, we have planted "Killarney Red", "German Porcelain", "Asian Tempest", and "Spanish Roja"! Could there really be such a difference in the bulbs to merit those exotic and place-particular names?

Uh oh - garlic aficionados are starting to bristle and splutter at that innocently ignorant question. Of course there is a difference! Why else would a brand-new local garlic farm have to double their planting for next year from 6500 to 13,000 bulbs? And with 15 varieties? Why? Because they sold out instantly at every market they went to this past season - Ann Arbor knows and loves their garlic!

So back to our little garlic patch. Thinking we had better educate ourselves as we enter this new exotic world of garlic flavors, we had a garlic taste-off one afternoon. The candidates were Killarney Red, Spanish Rojas and German Porcelain. We roasted them up and then sat down to compare. We were surprised how different they were!

Hands down winner was Killarney Red, with a taste that was "smoky," "sweet," and just plain "yum"! Spanish Rojas went thumbs down with a flavor described as "blunt", "earthy", "musty", and, the clincher, "like wet grass pudding". Oh dear. We'll have to give that one another chance. German Porcelain did not fare much better; descriptions ranged from "bitter" to "sharf" (German for something unpleasant!?).

clockwise from left: Spanish Rojas, German Porcelain, Killarney Red

Well, we didn't plant very much of those unpopular brands. Actually, we didn't plant very much garlic at all. So, while casting around Craig's List of all places looking for more organic garlic to plant (all garlic suppliers in the business had long sold out), we found a lovely ad for organic garlic at a good price and not so very far away.

I won't even tell you how this week we just happened to visit the farm of the good folks who supply us with organic dairy products and we found out that the Craig's List garlic producer lived just around the country corner from them, but she wasn't home that day, so they said they would call her because she was a friend, and then bring some garlic if she had any left when they delivered the milk, yes I said, delivered the milk, and today is the delivery day and we now have 21 more pounds of beautiful seed garlic and guess what varieties - Music and Killarney Red - our favorites!


Killarney Red(left) and Music


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