Oct 25, 2009

Farmer's math doesn't add up

Celebrated a sweet Sunday with bushels of garlic. The hundreds of heads hanging from the rafters of the workshop came into the kitchen demanding liberation, so we triaged in the most socially inequitable of ways.

First, the biggest, most beautiful bulbs were savagely dismembered and put into a bowl for planting tomorrow. 800 cloves will return to the soil, enough for household use for us and Joe & Nathalie, enough to replant the following year, and hopefully 500 more for sale. A beautiful seed-saving tradition begins.

Then the almost-as-big-and-beautiful bulbs were de-bearded (the roots that hang down and collect moisture, leading to rot), cleaned up a bit, and tied together in bundles for sale. Anyone wanting one of the last 8 bunches ($20/dozen) you better let us know soon.

Then all the misfits, the lost, the starting-to-rot, the teensy-weensy, those are what we get. 108 unsightly yet tasty bulbs to last us and our land partners till next summer. Of course they'll taste great, and be a great source of satisfaction all the long winter to pull another of our own garlics off the rafters, but where's the justice? Now I understand a bit how Costa Rican coffee farmers feel.

Still, amidst the unjust distribution it was a lovely family activity, a bit of economic yield, and yet another step deeper into this farmer identity.


  1. Ever eaten a yellow bannana in central america? Never.

  2. only on a plantation. But i used to eat the world's best chocolate-covered frozen bananas ("choco's") in guatemala. So good that the 25 centavo coin was commonly known as a choco, cause that was the price of the treat.

  3. Nice--love garlic! I just taught my daughter last night how to push on the garlic so that the skin comes right off. And the key secret to getting the smell (some love, some hate) off your fingers. Wash hands in wet coffee grounds! Works better than anything. A clove a day keeps the cold away! CHeers! Michele