Even though I live within an hour of Farmer D Organics, I had never been there until this week. I had an extra-long day at work on Monday (15 hours!), so on Tuesday I left work early. I was a little cranky from sleep-deprivation, but I figured that the thing that would improve my mood the most was a garden-oriented field-trip. Of course, a nap would probably have been a more logical choice.
My excuse for the field-trip was that I wanted to check out the garlic, since it is just about time to put that in the ground. It didn't hurt that the Farmer D store is only about 20-25 minutes from the office.
The good news is that there was plenty of garlic to choose from, and the cloves were HUGE. I bought two heads of California Early softneck and three cloves (loose) of Elephant garlic to try.
I have bought different varieties of garlic through the mail before, and they've done well, but the heads were not even close to the size of the garlic at Farmer D's, and this is one of those situations in which size matters. Big cloves usually end up making big heads of garlic in the garden.
The garlic that I've had the best luck with so far, in terms of consistently producing big heads of garlic in the garden, is the Rabun County garlic that my friend Cheryl brought back from one of her visits there a few years ago. We are still working on growing out enough of it to be able to actually eat very much of it, but it does make nice, big heads of garlic, and it has good flavor, too.
Photo below is of the two California early heads (left), the three cloves of Elephant garlic (center), and one of my Rabun County. Notice how the Rabun County is dwarfed by the garlic from Farmer D's:
I usually grow some grocery-store garlic along with the specialty garlics, but unless I see some heads with whopper-sized cloves, I'm going to stick with what I have now - the new garlic from Farmer D and the Rabun County that I've saved to replant. If all goes well, I'll have the garlic planted by Halloween.
Farmer D Organics had fruit trees and bushes for fall planting, and the strawberry plants are in. Onion sets will be in stock closer to Thanksgiving. The store seems to specialize in the small-scale food-growing that works so well in urban areas, and the people there were friendly. By the time I left, I was definitely in a good mood. It was a great field trip.
My Louisiana sister and I have been talking some about our fall gardens and planting the garlic and onions. Her planting date is later than mine, since she is more zone 9/10 than 7/8, but planning ahead is almost always good. To go with the garlic theme of our last couple of conversations, she sent a link to the amazing video below about using garlic in the kitchen.
Are you as astonished as I was? My sister and I are now both hunting for pairs of same-sized, large metal bowls.