Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hood Wink?



I picked this garlic up at the green market today. Frankly, I'm surprised at how little the farmers have at this time of the year at our local market. And doubly frank, I was surprised to see garlic being sold so late in the season. Can some varieties store this long? Yes, but I didn't see any at the cream of the crop market in Union Square on Saturday.

I bought some, happy to have farmer garlic, now that I dislike buying from the grocer so late in the season (it usually is sprouting at this time of year thanks to long term refrigeration). It was exceptionally cheap, 3 for 2 dollars or 66 cents each. The laws of supply and demand dictate that garlic at this time of the year should be coming in at $1.50 or more per bulb. Another curiosity. I asked the representative what kind it was and he deferred to another. She said it was elephant garlic. Imagine my puzzled look.

When I got home I turned them over to realize that the roots had been scooped out. Do some local farmers do this, I do not know, but it is well known that this is the methodology of growers in China. I've never seen it done to U.S. grown garlic, and certainly not farmer market garlic. Now looking closely, the soil appeared smudged on, as if by muddy fingers, as in after the fact, to make it look, err, farmy.

Am I wrong? Don't know. NYC Greenmarket has a rule against this, although nationwide, not all farm markets do (Minneapolis Farmers' Market comes to mind). If you have the right conditions for storage, you can grow and store certain varieties into May, but I'm skeptical that this farm has done that.






5 comments:

  1. Yeah, that's definitely Chinese garlic. Small head, tight skin. Are you going to report the grower?

    I looked for garlic on Wednesday in Union Square, and no one had it either. Are you saying that it's early in the season for this year's crop, but late to be selling last year's?

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    1. Yes. This year's earliest wouldn't be in and cured yet like this stuff. It's possible to cure and store until now, but not without refrigeration or other methods. This farmer barely had any goods so it didn't seem like the kind to put money into that operation. It's possible however.

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  2. I'm so...surprised. That's awful.

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    1. What I don't understand is motive. These were cheap, where's the benefit? This is the only thing that upsets my skepticism.

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