Last September, in anticipation of purchasing farmersdotter organics and way before we took possession of the property, we purchased garlic seed from the previous owner. At that time it had been precisely two years since realizing a pay cheque. Believe me when I say handing over a sum equal to a modest annual salary for garlic seed after a two year monetary drought was thirsty work indeed. But we had a gut feeling.
It has been ten months, twenty payless periods since we began popping or cracking the garlic bulbs into individual seed (cloves). We needed to have something to harvest just in case the deal went through. So much has happened between then and now it seems surreal. But here we are. Beginning the harvest of the Russian Red hardneck. We harvested the Early Kowloon softneck at the beginning of July and good fortune ensured all that garlic is sold, just in excess of 1200 pounds. Done. Now we get serious. Time to giddy up. We estimate 16,000 pounds of the pungent Russian Red to be hanging from the rafters within a few days.
Point being after three lean years and the last ten months of hard work we are anticipating a healthy harvest of what we believe is some of the best garlic available. Our vendors think so too.
Just about the time we were finishing up harvesting the softneck garlic on the weekend of the 14th I went to bed Saturday evening feeling fine then when I woke up Sunday I had what appeared to be an insect bight on my index finger. Later that day it was enough of a nuisance that I decided if this persists through Monday I head to the clinic for a professional look see. By Monday it was obvious I required medical attention which I received.
By Wednesday I was sent to Kelowna General where a plastic surgeon awaited me to hopefully save my finger. I was released today. One full week for what we believe was a spider bight. The infectious disease lab could not confirm the genesis of the infection but we are left with little else to explain how it happened.
Anyway, that is my excuse for not posting lately and missing the Penticton Farmers Market last week. Happy to be on the mend.
We began harvesting our small field of early Kowloon softneck garlic. Roughly 15,000 plants in all providing excellent practice and team building skills for our field hands as they prepare for the 112,000 Russian Red hardneck plants that will be coming off the big field in three weeks. We have 7 regular field hands for the Kowloon harvest and other farmersdotter duties. These great folks will provide team leadership for the 7 to 12 extra hands that will be required for the Russian Rad harvest. Below Raina and Dan take relief from the 37 centigrade heat.
Once dried then cleaned the Kowloon in placed on conveniently located racks for further curing. I say convenient because the Kowloon goes to market very quick and won’t require long storage in our storage shed. We thought it best to try racking these little guys right in the field next to the vehicle path.
Less work and handling of the garlic is a bonus. So far the orders are keeping pace of harvest so we only need replace empty space with more Kowloon. We just may get away without having to built more curing racks. In the photos you can see large clear recycle bags to the right of the rack. These sealed bags contain harvest waste that in time should solarize or cook the waste eliminating any chance of transferring unseen pests or diseases back into the environment.