Our seed garlic farm has been busy this last few weeks & Henry's crew have been working hard. Dawn to dusk he has had his main employee (Dad) hard at work weeding the garlic, making drying racks for the upcoming harvest, tilling in the first cover crop on next year's soil, and preparing the high tunnel site. Dad is a disabled veteran, and Henry knows that even though he likes this sort of work, it does take a toll on his body. The solitude is good for him, but there are days Henry thinks he works too hard. Dad's back is stooped a little more than usual, and his limp is more pronounced. Henry knows that Dad wouldn't have it any other way, but still he wishes he could give him a day off. But at this time of year it is simply out of the question. The garlic is in the early throes of dying back and setting its bulbs, and that means there is so much do. The sun is climbing in the sky, and Henry is lying in the field scanning everyone's progress. It is the weekend, so he has Mom at work, and actually Susie has stopped by for a visit. Henry, after licking her senseless, sent her to the fields to earn her keep. "Ah the burden of leadership is tough" he thought. The breeze is making his shaggy mane move ever so slighty, and it delivers to his well tuned sniffer an aroma that he hasn't smelled for quite sometime; garlic. Not the pungent garlic smell of well cured bulbs that have been chopped and prepared for roasting, or to be added to one of Mom and Dad's favorite dishes, but the mellow, teasing, seductive and gentle aroma of garlic that reminds Henry a little of the shallots that Dad grows. Henry turns his attention to the field and discovers why. Amidst the sea of bluish green garlic plants, he sees the work crew quietly going about a new task. He sees their hands work in harmony with shears in their hands; clip, plunk, clip, plunk, clip, plunk were the sounds coming from their labor. "They are clipping off garlic scapes!" Henry thought. It was finally time. The garlic plants were stiff neck varieties, so they always put out false seed heads that need to be cut off before the garlic can truly size up to meet Henry's tough seed garlic standards. "This means it is just a few weeks until we harvest" he said to himself. "It also means that Mom & Dad are going to start cooking and preparing some of their yummy scape recipes." One of Henry's favorites was simplicity itself. It consists of:
Three or four scapes
Four or more cups of greens/chard
A pat of butter
Coarse sea salt sprinkled over the dish to taste
Dad chops up the scapes and greens/chard, removing the center stem on the greens.
After preheating his cast iron skillet, the heat is turned to medium, butter is added and clarified. Scapes are added, sautéed for a minute, then the greens are added, tossed, and wilted to a brilliant green hue. This all takes just a couple of minutes. They are removed from the heat, plated, and salted to suit each diner's taste. Serves four. Henry had drifted off and was day dreaming about garlic scapes. "Roasted, stir fried, used to make a soup base......" Henry snaps back to reality as he has the sensation of soiling himself. He looks down and realizes he is lying in a pool of his own drool due to his dreaming of scapes. Not being adverse or concerning himself with his apparent excessive salivating, his mind continues to race. "Mmmmmm, when Dad and Mom make this, they also make mashed potatoes and steak. The best part is they always have leftovers for Sis and I." Henry proceeds to look around for his sister Stella, and to no one's surprise he sees her at the end of the field, nose down, tail up, scanning for any earthy tic tacs she may have missed. For once Henry could care less. He turned tail, headed for the house, bolted through his doggie door, and proceeded to lie next to his dog dish on the cool hardwood floors. He knew it would be several hours before Mom, Dad and Susie finished their work and came inside. "A dog can't be too careful or too early when it comes to waiting for their next meal" he thought. His mouth was already starting to water again thinking about the potatoes and steak he was sure to have tonight. He hoped the floors were waterproof. There very well might be a small body of water where he was lying before the crew arrived. "It sure is lovely living on a farm" he thought as he closed his eyes to dream of meals soon to come. Enjoy the summer season everyone. May you eat what you like and like what you eat. Here at Snaggletooth Farm it will be garlic infused recipes for many months to come. Scapes and chard from our farm are picked, and chopped, and ready for wilting. Potatoes are on boil. Now where did we put the lighter for the grill?????