Monday, June 17, 2013

Barnstorming Florists

Today we had two simple tasks -find a barn and find a florist willing to buy my elephant garlic, Allium ampeloprasum, scapes. They're much meatier than typical garlic scapes and they curve less too. Most are still covered in spathe, some opening to reveal green and purple, and about two feet long. 

We found a florist in East Hampton willing to take on 50 stems, but of the six we visited she was the only brave soul. The florist with the spare, sculptural aesthetic in South Hampton was so sure he didn't want them that I decided to give him our lot of samples just for the trying. He was worried they would smell like onions in a hot room or at least that was the reason he gave for passing. I didn't realize we were up against convention at high end florists, but so it is. 

As for barns, well, we handed out lots of cards to guys in front of piles-o-barns. Most said they were maxed out and then sent us down the road to see another farmer. We will be harvesting our first two varieties this week and they're going to have to go into the now cramped (shared) studio if I don't receive any calls over the next two or three days. 

We'll watch the weather closely, because we've had nearly nine inches of rain in the last week which isn't very good for harvest. I would like to harvest the day we leave camp, driving the bulbs in the evening to Brooklyn, but if rain is likely I will need to pull them and drive them back before our stay is up. 

Tomorrow we weed, clearing out the crocus bed, picking Colorado potato beetle nymphs from the potatoes, weeding the few onions that have survived my ill-timed planting. We have tons of pea greens thanks to that absurd quantity of rain last week. They're succulent, nutty, and just delicious, but my neighboring farmer said those I gave him didn't move at his weekly markets because no one knows what to do with them. 

Eat them? People tend to be followers and you have to show people how to cook and eat, otherwise they will pass on these apparently exotic offerings. Maybe I'll go with him to his market and see if I can drum up some interest. 

To relax afterward we stopped into the Parrish Art Museum. I've never been and they have some interesting new digs. Long, like a stretched longhouse or potato barn, the building stands like a sculpture in a meadow. 


  1. You may have already thought of this, but if you go to the FM with your neighbor, you could serve up some sauteed pea shoots and give away free tastes. On my book tour this spring I learned that a bite is worth a thousand words. Give people delicious free food and they'll beg you to buy it. Good luck!

    1. I did think of that, but he had trouble with the idea and the market managers and blah blah blah. It's tough for new farmers, so busy now and no help either. As it turned out, I didn't really have the time to invest for a crop that was on the way out.


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