Local garlic bulbs bring pungent variety to farmers markets – Boulder Daily Camera

October 8, 2019 in Boulder



Market happenings: Saturday’s farmers market in Boulder will mark its final Artisan Show of the season, so be sure to go peruse the selection of handmade art and crafts from local artisans, including jewelry, pottery, skincare items, screenprinted goods and more.

Looking ahead, be sure to save the date for the 14th Annual Winter Market at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont that will run from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 7-8. The winter market brings in offerings from more than 70 farmers, along with packaged and prepared vendors and Colorado artisan and craft vendors. The market will help kick-off the holiday season with unique gifts and it’s the final shebang of the Boulder County Farmers Market’s growing season. At the December market there will be live music, vendor demos, gift wrapping and free kids activities.

In season now: Now is the season of “last chance.” With the first frost hitting the Front Range over the weekend, everybody’s favorite summer crops begin to wane while the hearty fall crops start to pop. Take this list with a grain of salt as some items may slip away before Saturday: apples, basil, bell peppers, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, kale, lettuce, mint, onions, peppers, potatoes, radicchio, raspberries, spicy greens, sweet corn, Swiss chard, summer squash and tomatoes. Patrons will also find honey, baked goods, eggs, beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, cheeses, ferments, preserves and mushrooms.

Lots of this, please: Currently on tables at local markets are various varieties of softneck and hardneck garlic.

The farmer says: Much to our dismay, local farmers are still feeling the effects of that cold, wet spring Colorado experienced, and garlic is one crop that we may see a little less of this season. Christian Toohey, of Toohey & Sons Organic, said there are a couple reasons for the smaller bulbs this fall.

“Prime-time development for garlic is late May and early June,” Toohey said. “This year it was colder longer and scapes didn’t thrive, so the bulbs are smaller than typical.”

Toohey said other farms experienced hail, which stressed the plants’ growth during this vital time of year. Regardless of the slim pickings, though, Toohey said they will still have a fair amount of varieties this weekend, and he likes to plant his garlic for both story and flavor.

The majority of the garlic in the world originated from the Caucasus mountain range that divides Russia and Georgia. But garlic varieties started to boom in the U.S. in the late-1980s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, when the USDA was invited to collect different varieties from the region. U.S. farmers then shared seed with other farmers, and garlic varieties spread.

Toohey said he expects to have the following varieties of softneck garlic: La Plata, which has been grown by Durango farmers for more than 20 years; the Inchelium Red, which is a Slow Food Ark of Taste variety; and the Polish softneck, which is Toohey’s spiciest variety. In the hardneck varieties, Toohey will have: Brown Tempest, which is rich and warm in flavor; the ShanTung Purple, which is known for its purple skins; and the John Gorman, a variety that was named after a Glenwood Springs county assessor who was known for his love of garlic.

How to prepare: There are many ways to prepare garlic, it can be cut, minced, mashed or even roasted whole. Use the broad side of a knife to crush the clove and this will loosen the skin for removal. Crushed garlic brings out the strongest flavor, while a coarse chop will bring out a more mild flavor. Hardneck garlic varieties tend to be more flavorful.

Goes with: Pretty much anything under the sun pairs well with garlic. With garlic, you really can’t go wrong.

How to store it: Softneck garlic varieties store longer, so be sure to eat up any hardneck garlic varieties before January. Store bulbs at room temperature in a dark, dry place. Keep in mind that once a bulb is broken open, it will perish sooner.

Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list.


Garlic Lemon Spinach

1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

10-12 cups chopped spinach

1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions: Place oil in a large skillet, and heat over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.

Add spinach, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach begins to wilt.

Remove from heat.

Adjust salt to taste.

-The School Food Project, Boulder Valley School Harvest of the Month, food.bvsd.org



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