Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Great Scape

Time is measured in movement of sunlight across a meadow. It was still early after the shallots were harvested, the sun now striking the tips of garlic plants. I walked the rows bending the necks of flower stalks between pointer and forefinger. A bead of garlic-scented water forms at the break, fingers get tacky.

The word 'scape' is derived from the Latin word for stalk -scapus. It is the flowering stalk that rarely sets flower. Let a few go to see what they can do. You will still get garlic from those left or forgotten.

Each Allium ophioscorodon (hardneck) variety has a distinctive scape morphology - thin, thick, short, long, looping, curving, long-beaked or short beaked. The weakly-bolting Allium sativum, namely Turban and Asiatic varieties, also produce scapes, but with less vigor and still a soft neck. Asiatic varieties produce giant beaks at the tips of their scapes. Most of these were sent to Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture for their Trustee/Governor weekend in July. There will be pesto at the big dinner.

Allium sativum var. Turban 'Tuscan' were harvested on scaping day. They are the earliest of the early, and should be pulled after the bulbs size up, but before the plants lodge (fall over). Mine were partially lodged, but I think no worse for the wear. It is with a touch of sentimentality that I look at these empty rows. Not long from now this field will be harvested.

1 comment:

  1. I hope that means you had your first customer. Congrats.


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