Category Archives: Things We Get Asked About

Things We Get Asked About: Growing Garlic

Here are the top five questions we get asked about growing garlic.

1/ Which variety do you grow?

Russian Red.

Seed Garlic
Seed Garlic

True identification is virtually impossible as there are hundreds of cultivars with no universally accepted horticultural mapping.

Suffice it to say there is hard-neck garlic which produces a flower stalk or scape, and soft-neck garlic which does not.

Hard-neck garlic is generally accepted to include rocambole and purple stripe garlic. Russian Red is a rocambole producing four to eight cloves per bulb and in our humble opinion produces the best flavour and long term storage qualities.

Soft-neck varieties include artichoke, silverskin, and Creole which are most often found in the supermarkets and originate from China, California, and other places of exotic and murky reputations. #WentThere #NoGoingBack

2/ How deep do you plant?

We like to have about 5 to 7 centimeters of soil above the top of the clove when we plant.

Sixteen Centimetre Spacing
Sixteen Centimetre Spacing

We mulch with certified organic alfalfa straw which mitigates frost heaves and more importantly helps retain precious spring and summer irrigation. We’re told it also helps reduce weeds. On the weed issue, we’re undecided because considering the effort we exert extracting weeds each season, we wonder what horrors would appear if we decided to ixnay the ulchmay. #Shudder #WeBeFarming #Heroic

3/ How far apart do you plant.

Sixteen centimeters. One octave. Or thereabouts.

4/ When do you plant/harvest?

We plant on the third Monday of September. Maybe a little early, however planting this early helps establish root development and the sooner we’re done the better.

We harvest on the third Monday of July come rain or shine because it’s time to get it out of the ground and into the stores. #CashFlow

5/ Scapes? What are they?

A garlic scape is simply the flower stem. It appears early June and we remove the scape by snapping the little bugger between our fingers as soon as, or a little before, it completes one curl.

Removing Scapes
Removing Scapes

The idea is to divert the energy back down into the bulb producing a larger and more robust product for your table and our bank account.

We retain the scape to produce our Original Garlic Scape Salt. Yes, it is original. It was invented by farmersdotter back in another time when forest fires were a thing of awe and mystery and washing was done by hand. #FrontierLife


Things We Get Asked About: Wood-Fired Oven Bakery

Considering the variety of stuff that is produced from the bakery wood-fired oven; sough dough bread, pizzas, pastries, complete meals for not-so-long table gatherings, and the Original Garlic Scape Salt, we get asked a variety of questions about it. So here are answers to the top four most often asked questions about our wood-fired oven bakery.

1/ Did you build the oven?

No. As far as we can tell the oven was installed around 2007 as part of a wood-fired brick bake oven workshop led by renowned oven master Alan Scott.

#AlanScott

#AlanScott

To our knowledge, the oven is one of two commercial ovens of this size in North America to be installed personally by Mr. Scott.

2/ How big is the oven?

Big. The biggest Alan Scott oven design out there. Measuring approximately six by eight feet (50ish square feet or about 4.5 square metres) the oven chamber is about as large a wood-fired oven can be and still be practical.

 

The oven can accommodate over 70 x 700-gram loaves when you know how to load it.

3/ How do you load the oven?

With a peel and aplomb. The peel (resembling a long, exaggerated paddle) is large enough to accommodate four loaves and long enough, ten feet give or take, to reach the back of the oven.

#Peel

#Peel

Farmersdotter first sprinkles cornmeal on the peel which allows the bread to roll off easier. Then three or four loaves of bread are placed onto the peel, scored with a lame, then with a precise thrust the loaves are positioned in the oven rank and file like crusty soldiers. Rinse and repeat twenty or so times until the oven is full of wonderful naturally fermented bread.

4/ How do you build the fire for the oven?

The oven chamber ostensibly is the fireplace.

 

For each firing, we use approximately one-quarter (30ish cubic feet) of a cord of wood to get the oven to temperature. Once the fuel has been exhausted the coals and ash are raked out and deposited into an enclosed ash pit directly below the chimney. The oven then is swept a few times with a homemade wet mop to clean the brick floor in order to accept the bread.

 

As a pizza oven, we retain some coals in the chamber which develops an ideal pizza crust.

 

 

 


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