Local, organic agriculture. Environmental education.

Summer Time, What Do I Do?

It is hot and dry. There is no hurry to the bus stop. The lazy, hazy days are here. The assigned reading book can wait until later. The tomatoes are not on the vine yet.

garlic scapesThe garlic scapes, though, are ready for cutting. These gangly, curly out shoots from the top of the garlic plant are great for a garlic scape soup or scape pesto (recipe below), terrific for dipping. When the scapes are cut off the top, then the garlic plant will put more energy into the the bulb and cloves that remain in the ground. The entire garlic plant will be pulled in mid-July, when it most likely will still be hot, dry and maybe humid. But for now, the garlic is a nice, spicy treat to keep us busy.

There are garlic plants at over 30 School Farm Gardens in the greater South Shore. That means that many people have the chance to try something new, as well as perhaps cook some garlic bread come autumn, when school is back in session.

garlic for plantingOnce the garlic is pulled, the plants can dry and be cured, so as to last longer. Cloves will be separated for new fall planting and roasting. Having been planted in October and November of last year, they are a long lasting crop that increases from its one clove to a spring bounty of scapes and big heads of garlic.

Much like a student who enters school in the fall, he or she emerges the following June perhaps a bit wiser, taller and ready to learn more. And as the garlic is ready for harvest, so too is the farmer ready to keep on planting. There are carrot seeds for fall that can be directly sowed right now. There are lettuce, kale and arugula seed to also sow. Some tall tomatoes and peppers are bursting out of their pots for a chance to produce in a larger space. Beans, cucumbers and sunflowers still have time to germinate, grow and produce lovely beans, potential pickles and sunny cheer before the frost grows in October or even November.

So now we are encouraged to hurry up and wait. It is summer. Weeds will grow and so will we. We can read a book, write in a journal, listen to the birds, try a spicy scape or just escape into the blue sky days, waiting for a spot of rain to make things grow.

Garlic Scape Pesto
1/4 c pine nuts
3/4 c coarsely chopped garlic scapes
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1. Toast pine nuts at 250 degrees for 10 minutes. Do not burn.
2. Combine scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice & zest, salt & pepper in food processor. Pulse until well combined.
3. Pour olive oil in slowly with motor running.
4. When all mixed well, transfer to bowl and add cheese.
If you plan on freezing the pesto, wait to add the cheese until you defrost it. Freeze in small batches or in ice cube trays and then in a freezer bag. Use within a couple of months.

© 2016, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm

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