|Late fall produce at Argus Farm Stop.|
More varieties of garlic exist than I ever dreamed of — and Dick and Diana Dyer grow over 40 of them at theDyer Family Organic Farm outside Ann Arbor.
We heard a great many facts about this wonderful flavor-rich vegetable last Sunday at the Dyers’ lecture to the Culinary Historians of Ann Arbor. Some things we learned about:
- The genealogy of the garlic family.It’s an allium like leeks and onions. I had never realized that garlic was originally native to China, and that members of the garlic family have been cultivated for 10,000 years. Most fascinating: an ancient garlic variety native to the Pacific Northwest suggests that early humans crossing the land bridge to North America brought garlic with them!
- The annual cycle of garlic products.The year starts with green garlic and garlic scapes in spring, continues with a succession of summer garlic types, and ends with the last heads and the dried braids of garlic available now in late fall.
- The propagation of garlic.The bulbs planted in farmers’ fields are clones from previous crops. The scapes are the garlic plant’s effort to make seeds, but few viable seeds are ever produced.
- The sensory experience of garlic cooking.Uncut garlic should have no aroma, because the chemicals that provide the smell and flavor are locked inside the cells until your knife releases an enzyme and a chemical reaction triggers aroma and flavors. Shorter or longer cooking times produce different results: flavor disperses as time increases.
- And above all, the best thing about garlic:it tastes so good!
The Dyers’ fascination with everything about garlic is infectious, so I was quite interested to try some. So I went toArgus Farm Stop in downtown Ann Arbor, which sells Dyer garlic and many other local foods from local farmers, bakers, dairies, coffee roasters, and other producers. I bought leeks, cranberries, lettuce, duck eggs and — obviously — garlic. Some images:
|Dyer Farms Garlic at Argus Farm Stop.|
|Garlic braids from Dyer Farms.|
|Goose Eggs, $3 each from a local egg producer.|
|A variety of green salad vegetables, still growing at several farms despite the frosts.|
|Winter squash from various farms.|
As is normal for me, and unlike my exceptional recent post, I did not receive any free gifts or samples from any of the vendors mentioned here. I’m writing about what interests me, which is fresh, local produce!
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