Sunday, September 30, 2012

Garlic A Hit At The Dumbo Arts Festival

We were a little off the beaten path, but a steady stream kept me talking into the dark. My voice went hoarse, undoubtedly less so than would have been had I not eaten so much raw garlic.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sativum ? Sativum

 Docendo discimus -teach to learn 

Under artist Heather Hart's project BarterTown (Trading Post X): Tomorrow-morrow Land, I will be presenting Allium sativum to the public. You may have questions, I will do my best to summon answers. I will have several garlic varieties on hand, including the non-sativum Allium vineale (a little worse for the wear) and ampeloprasum. I will disect samples, peel samples, even slice samples. We will look at fertile leaves, rounds known as pearl garlic, bulbils, and the full-size, dried entirety of a porcelain garlic from roots to flowers. I will have seed and table garlic on view, tasting of raw and gently browned samples, maybe even grilled whole cloves if the gods of health and safety allow it.

Do you want to know how to grow garlic? I can help. Do you want to know how to store it? Can help there too. Questions about buying garlic? No problem. You didn't know there was more than one kind? I got kinds. You know a lot about garlic? Great, teach me, I don't know nearly enough.

And since this is BarterTown, I gather I am in the business of trading. What can be traded? Your patience. Your interest. Your email for Hudson Clove updates. A handshake, hugs. Whatever. I'm in it to inform, practice exhibition, get the word out, to deliver the pitch.

Look for me at the Dumbo Arts Festival in Dumbo Brooklyn. Tomorrow-morrow land.
Saturday, September 29, 12-6 pm, drizzle or shine. We'll be near the York Street F stop.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Honeysuckle DOT

They whack it down every year, but it always returns. I for one am glad to catch the scent on my way out of subterranea.

Fennel Seed, Not Quite

The first cutting came to the studio where it is warm and dry.

But, after a week, I rustled the stems, and I was a little dumbfounded by what fell out.

Gnats. So, naturally I google gnats and fennel, but I found nada. So, my next batch came home with me and was placed in the stove (not doing much cooking lately) on a cookie sheet.

Yesterday afternoon, as I was about to use the oven, I removed the fennel. And, what fell out as it shook? You guessed it. So what gives? My first thought was that the gnats discovered the studio fennel because I left the windows cracked open. My second guess was the more likely, but less desirable, chance that they were already on the green fennel either as eggs or at some stage of maturation.

Anybody have experience with this? And if so, how do you deal? Just shake and shake until gnats no more or does washing before drying take care of them?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy 97th Grandma!

My grandmother's roses, or what I could salvage from her garden, just before her house was sold. I'm impressed with the vigor of this rose, over 50 years old. Beautiful and vigorous, just like her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sage Harvest

It hardly ever does this, picked just as the racemes are rising up from their droop. Yes, it has bloomed standing in water, in which we placed it only to keep it fresh for the tea we imagined having time to make. And now, we are rewarded for our busyness with blooms.

Salvia elegans is early this year, having bloomed on October 20 the last. Not only is it early, but it has become fully hardy at both the beach farm and in the front yard. At the beach farm it is spreading -by seed or by cutting, I do not know. Beautiful flower, good looking structure, and lovely-scented leaves that flavor tea nicely.

New Fields

I've been stalking this field for months now. We met in April for the first time, and now, 6 months later, I'm ready to get my hands dirty. Yet, no lease, or any official business on site other than our vague verbal agreement that I would be on this land at some time in the future, has me keeping my distance, has me looking on from afar.

The seed is coming in, the weather cooling, time growing short, and finally, finally, the organization has confirmed a meeting date, this coming Monday, 10 am, Amagansett time. Issues must be addressed, documents signed, tractor work discussed, implements implemented.

The land trust is taking a big risk with me- artist, city guy, employed, no farm experience, 3 hour commute. Each day I learn new difficulties for the farmer, the paperwork, labor, expenses, depreciation, codes and zoning, taxes and exemptions that have little to do with actually farming, but everything to do with having a farm business. It's no wonder the trust has a hard time filling their acres. It's no wonder that giant farms are the norm. Fulfilling all that is required can put a new farmer out of business before he even gets going.

I will try to keep it simple. I'm planting 8000 cloves and corms. Entirely unlikely that it will be profitable, but if I keep it simple, I may just break even.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sprechende Sauce

The "Speckled Roman" saucing tomato -perfect. Maybe the juiciest long (roma, plum, saucing, paste or whatever we're calling them) tomato I've ever grown. Good flavor, good looking and moderately productive.

Through the saucer. Great tool, but the mesh is made of nickel or maybe zinc-plated steel, or, in other words -a rusting tool. Recommendation is to oil it, but I'm not fond of that. Little hard to clean the screen too, but I can say with confidence that this tool will put the screen pan my mother used to use, that I now own, out of business.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Still Shipping

While we sold out of our bundles of seven garlic varieties, with our remaining bulbs we put together a smaller bundle of five varieties. That's two each of Artichoke, Turban, and Porcelain, with a single Rocambole and Creole or Purple Stripe. And, because this bundle has one less bulb and weighs less, it comes in at a lower price than the original 9 Bulb Bundle. All varieties will be nicely labeled, packed well, and arrive in just a few days.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just Wild About...


Hudson Clove, in the spirit of beautiful experiments, is planting Crocus sativus, Saffron crocus, this fall. If all goes well, we will be the proprietor of limited amount of organic, local, sustainable, hand-cut, air-dried, labor-loving saffron. You may want to pick some up, next autumn, and may your risotto never be the same.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Everyone Loves Fennel

And that includes me. I simply hope that I haven't created a weed monster in my plot or elsewhere by growing this. Incredibly pungent seeds are drying in the studio now, with more to come.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I just re-membered. You can too.

I'm thinking picnic evenings mostly for those of us without such nice out-of-doors.


A breeze is blowing autumn down my street. The cosmos yellow, the dayflower are high, and the sun rakes long shadows across our walk. It always seems sudden.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Scenes From An Open Studio Weekend

Artists in Sunset Park saw few people coming through our studios, but that was generally expected. For me it was an opportunity to organize, begin painting again after a hiatus, and ship out garlic orders. I also got to meet some nice folks along the way.

I've sold most of my best bulbs, and may offer a bundle of one or two remaining varieties that I still have in quantity. I have had a few questions about planting this garlic and my answer is still that you shouldn't. The chance that a disease could be introduced is always possible from any seed source, but I think that with this lot, it is slightly higher. This is why I bought all new seed this year. Clean start next year and if that grows out well, I may offer seed. We'll see, as mom used to say.

While I feel pretty certain I do not want to mix my painting with my garlic again (garlic distracts), I will be at the Dumbo Arts Festival taking all questions garlic, in a booth of my making, and while not making it art, it is part of another's art.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Angry Seed

How should a vegetable be handled when you are selling it for $18 a pound, plus shipping? Think about those peaches in their foam trays in winter time -they're much less than eighteen a pound. So imagine how angry I became when I arrived home after work to find my first shipment of garlic seed for the new field looking like it was packed by a dog, using only his teeth. I knew something was wrong because I smelled the sulfuric sweetness of a rotting clove before I opened the box.

In advertising, image is everything. But in sales, good product is. So when a long time farmer advertises how wonderful their crop came in this year, I must question their sincerity when their product looks like this. Honestly, I can buy better looking food-quality garlic for ten bucks a pound from a local farmer, so why would you even let this out your barn door?

About 40% of the bulbs had little to no wrappers and had cloves that were gouged. Seed garlic doesn't need to be pretty, but it must maintain its integrity. The hard stems of these porcelain bulbs were cut at an angle, each one a dagger into nearby fleshy cloves. Once a clove is gouged, it is as good as garbage and should not be planted. If you are a high-priced seed retailer, why would you allow your precious commodity be damaged by hard stems and poor packing? And worse -they charged me double for shipping, yet shipped both orders in a single flat rate box. 

I was immediately concerned by the packing material -loose garlic wrappers. Were they from my bulbs? How did this box jostle so much that all the wrappers fell off? Is that why the bulbs were so gouged -too much jostle? The second order came in a mesh bag, but the bulbs looked similarly ragged. 

This bulb was the smeller. Dessicated, rotting. $18 dollars a pound for rot? Incidentally, there are about 5-6 bulbs in these pounds, so one bulb is about 3 dollars.



 Small, half-bulbs?


And so a very negative email was delivered by the Google Pony Express. I seriously cannot understand how they let this out their door. I hope they can't understand it, either.

UPDATE: I received an email explaining my package: a new picker combined with a rushed packing job by the farmer. Also, they had cut the stems taller this year because last year people apparently had a hard time cracking the bulbs. The bias cut of these longer stems and an overstuffed box was just a bad idea. I sent 54 bulbs out of 79 back to the farmer. I was a little hasty, because they emailed me later this morning (they are on the west coast) asking me not to send any back. Although, I know I can't eat that much garlic between now and when, I probably could have salvaged some cloves for planting. I hope those they send in return will be packed better, and well-sized.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beach Farm Tornado!

Ok, nearby though. I watched this line in the radar and saw the spin.

Photo taken by the well-placed Joey Mure. Thanks Joey! Your photo has spun out on the web.

Friday, September 7, 2012

And A Now A Word From Our Sponsor

Our borough-wide open studio weekend is finally here! On September 8th and 9th, more than 1800 artists across 46 neighborhoods in Brooklyn will open their studios to share their work with you from 11am to 7pm. We hope you’ll visit them.

Our team—including 2 organizers, 1 project coordinator, 21 neighborhood coordinators, many volunteers, staff across Museum departments, and our registered artists—have spent innumerable hours gearing up for this weekend. Even though Museum staff members are ineligible to nominate artists, we’ll be out in force visiting studios and offering support at our information spots. Shelley and I aim to see as many studios as possible, and we also know that our Director Arnold Lehman, Chief Curator Kevin Stayton, and many members of our curatorial team and other departments will be visiting artists as well.

While it might be a bit overwhelming with approximately 1800 artists from which to choose your visits, but remember, you only need to visit at least five studios to nominate artists for the exhibition. If you are a voter strategizing how to make the most of the weekend, one tip would be to visit the artists in your own neighborhood and then choose another neighborhood to discover. Consider starting at our main meet point at Borough Hall, which will be open from 11am to 7pm on both days, or pick up a map at one of the 30 info spots throughout Brooklyn (hours vary) or, simply, just start at an artist’s studio when you see a sign on the door. If you want to get started in advance, you can create an itinerary online and/or download our iPhone app.

All of the hard work that has gone into GO has really been about this weekend. The personal exchange between artists and neighbors is what counts here. While we do have a check-in and nomination process as a way to bring all of the excitement and energy of the open studio weekend into the Museum for a group exhibition, this project is first and foremost about art and community. If a visitor goes to studios, but never checks in or nominates artists, we still consider that a great success.

Whether you register in advance or not, the most important thing is to GO.

Sharon Matt Atkins
Managing Curator of Exhibitions and Co-organizer of GO
Brooklyn Museum

The link where you can create custom itineraries, find the info spots, check out the arts in your neighborhood:

Late afternoon to evening art (and food) revelers may require an umbrella. Strong storms possible at that time in Brooklyn. And it looks like we're already getting some early action from this approaching front.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


Solidago sempervirens on Flavor Street (33rd between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). A subtle reminder that good things are happening in Sunset Park. Come on down (or up) this weekend for GO Brooklyn. And, yes, my studio does smell like a ton of garlic. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hudson Clove Live

Garlic ordering is on. The HUDSON CLOVE tab on the top left is now live -taking you directly to my garlic site. The site is functional, although a work in progress, and you will be able to order and pay through the site.

My mission here is to introduce into NYC the variety of organically-grown garlic that is available in other regions of the U.S. and world.  At NYC Greenmarket, you can buy two kinds of garlic -mostly conventionally grown Porcelain, while Keith's farm sells an organic Rocambole. No one grows and sells Silverskins or Artichoke, Turban or Asiatic -but they should! You want Turban and Asiatic because they will be cured earlier than anything farmers currently bring to market. Artichoke and Silverskin because these will last a long long time in a cool spot in your apartment and that means fresh garlic in the winter and maybe spring. The reason farmers aren't growing them is mostly a matter of practice, but also a matter of education and to some extent the difficulty of growing these varieties at scale. Ultimately, I would like to see my crop produce seed standard bulbs, so gardeners can buy seed bulbs that are already acclimated to our climate.

If you are willing, consider your purchase as a way to pay for last season's seed or a way to pay for half of this season's seed. Maybe you would rather pay for a portion of this season's acreage? Your bundle will pay for 10% of a year's rent -that is significant! Whatever your reason, this small amount helps support my chance to grow on a real farm with perfect soil for an even better garlic crop next season. 

Whew. Okay, the shop is open. We will have a pickup weekend this Saturday and Sunday at my studio during the GO weekend if you would rather not pay shipping and/or you would like to see my paintings. We will be open from 11 am to 7 pm, both days. If you order via our site, I will email you directions for the pickup. Or, you may simply come by and if I have any remaining garlic you can purchase it. Thanks!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Indigo Rose Tomato

These are my beach farm grown "Indigo Rose" tomatoes. Many have asked how they taste and the answer is okay. They are plenty juicy, and maybe this is killing some of the flavor. They do have a very pleasant acidity and little in the way of sugar. I will grow them again and toss them with "Sungold" cherries for color and sweetness.

More than one farm was selling these at the Grand Army Plaza Saturday market. They all labeled them heirloom. Seems anything not looking like a dull red tennis ball is an heirloom these days. But for the record -these aren't heirlooms, unless your grandfather is a university in Oregon.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

September Peaches?

Seems strange. Maybe these are next year's peaches given how ahead of schedule all our months have been in 2012.

Farmer Market peaches.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Garlic Stuffed Turkey Thighs

It was nice to chop my garlic today while listening to music. It feels like a needed pause. And the garlic? I've had little opportunity to cook, so it is incredible informative to actually peel it. I'm cooking only with culls -these are bulbs that I have found to have one dried clove or the occasional rotted clove that I take out of the marketable supply. There's been several this season thanks to a very wet May and incredibly dry air this summer.

This afternoon these two turkey thighs, stuffed to the hilt with garlic, rosemary and others will be grilled at my friend Mark's place. It will be alongside several other meats brought by others.

Looking forward.