There is a small restaurant occupying the old DeNero’s at the corners of Cohasset, Hull and Hingham. Also known as West Corner, this little crossroads hosts pizza shops, subs, a liquor store and all things convenient at Tedeschi’s. The owner of this fine establishment, Ron Vale and his wife Rudy, love to support local growers. Ever since they owned La Bocage in Brookline, he and I have been talking about how to get local, organic produce into his restaurant kitchen. And his thoroughly talented chef, Sam Cabral Curtis, is equally delighted to take what is provided, either sold or donated, and incorporate, infuse, blend, add, simmer and make part of his daily creations. There at the Corner Stop eatery, Sam and Ron are williing and excited to use fresh produce. And what better practice than to use some vegetables that are grown within blocks of the restaurant. The other day, they bought garlic scapes from the Jacobs elementary school in Hull and from Hingham High School. Growing since the fall when it was planted, as are most bulbs, the garlic forms a wiry, garlicky delight at the top of the stem. If left on the plant, the scape will continue to onamonapoetically escape the plant and eventually form a flower. We do leave some scapes on a few garlics, as it is a great lesson for kids to see how plants go to seed. But once you cut off the scape, the plant will put more energy into the bulbs down below. Then in mid-July, we will have a fully sized, marvelous garlic to pull, eat and dry for autumn. Rudy could even use some scapes in a bouquet, as the movement and curl of these garlic tops is quite circuitous and delightfully pleasing to the eye.
The accommodating chefs at the Corner Stop would love to receive and use more produce, as available. And grow we will, with their counter tops and recipes in mind. However, we must continue to grow both at the Farm and at School Farm Gardens for the community, the local food pantries and the kids who did most of the instructed growing. Kids loved daring one another to try the spicy scapes during the last hectic days of school when the snow storms of 2015 seemed like a distant memory, except for the fact that they were still in school. Some teachers boldly tried them as well, and all those who partook may have some healthy days ahead, knowing how beneficial garlic can be. When not stopping to eat at the Corner Stop or enjoying a local beverage, the weekly focus is on gathering 6-8 buckets of raw vegetable scraps from the cold room at the restaurant. Compost sometimes does happen on its own, but we can help the environment, lessen the trash load, and make more purposeful compost if the kitchen staff kindly separates out the compostable ingredients. We stay healthy at Holly Hill by lugging these 5-gallon buckets, donated from Nona’s Ice Cream, full of compost items to make lots of compost back at the farm. It may be easy to see now, that all that compost could then go to more gardens which in turn grow more vegetables for the restaurant and the people in the neighborhood who eat. Everybody eats, and so too, can everybody compost and enjoy the escaped garlic too.
© 2015, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm