Monday, October 28, 2013

Season's End

In the early light of an autumnal morning, the iris reblooms. The van preloaded, we had time for a visit to the farmers' market on Cortelyou for carrots and kale and breakfast before market. 

 The new display, where garlic was bundled in threes and labeled.

Gigantism of elephant garlic and minute French shallots at the lower reaches.

It was slow at first, at least in our corner, but then after noon things picked up.

We received dozens of complements on the Hudson Clove display and a photo was always being taken. Must be the artist in me that creates a display more visually stimulating than the product itself. We sold out some varieties, and nearly sold out others. What remains will direct this November's planting -varieties that didn't move will be be shifted out in favor of those that sold well, while retaining all varieties.

We will not return to the Thanksgiving New Amsterdam Market because we simply do not have enough to warrant the stall expense. I encouraged people to buy enough for the holiday, explaining that we would not be back and that they should expect their garlic to last through then. This came as a surprise to many. I also sold a good amount of seed garlic to gardeners who just happened by and saw the sign. Folks growing in Westchester, Connecticut, Long Island, the Catskills, and even central Vermont! I do still have some left if any one is interested -I may put up a sign at a couple of community gardens in the area. I'd hate to eat such large and plant-able bulbs.

I have one more trip, possibly an emotional visit, out to the old Amagansett field to collect my sacks of lime, hand cart, and tools. Then over to the barn to collect remaining garlic and racks that I left behind, sell my French Shallots to a farmer who intends to grow them. I will stop at Agway to return the extra lime and a bag of Harmony fertilizer I will not use (the garden has an abundance of Phosphate) while picking up blood meal and potash for the garlic. Sometime between this weekend and the next I will plant the coming season's garlic and then all can be put to rest for the winter. I am looking forward to that, the quietude of winter, as we re-establish our studios in a new location and get on with other business.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New, New Amsterdam Market

Once again we shuttle our savory wares down to the old Fulton Fish Market to participate in the autumnal season of New Amsterdam Market days. It should be cool and sunny tomorrow, perfect weather for strolling NYC and eating. 

Today I finished bundling and labeling all the garlic, carried it down four flights, loaded the van and now at home. Each variety is offered as a labeled bundle of three and I hope people take to the idea. The remaining garlic is small to medium-sized (you always sell the biggest bulbs first, smaller bulbs store longer), so a bundle of three amounts anywhere from a tenth to a fifth of a pound. Put another way, from $1.90 to $3.80, but we round down to nearest quarter so we don't have to handle small change. 

Of course, we also have several pounds of French Grey Shallots and Elephant Garlic, but sadly no saffron yet. I checked on it this morning after I delivered seed garlic to gardeners at Tilden. It's close, but probably another week. I've decided to plant all my remaining saffron crocus in the side garden. Who wouldn't want crocus in the fall, and since they will be planted where I am unwilling to eat them, I won't be tempted to snip snip. 

So here's to a grand market day. Lots of chatting keeps us busy, makes my voice hoarse by day's end. I say this a lot so it is worth saying here -so few eat garlic raw but that is where you find the major taste differences. Only do some retain flavor distinction once thoroughly cooked. I grow different varieties mainly because of storage length so that I always have my own garlic throughout most of the year. 

If you're looking for a foodie activity tomorrow, come on down (old Fulton Fish Market at Peck Slip) anywhere from 11 am to 4 pm. There will be 50 food vendors on top of the fish event (Gathering of the Fisheries). Apparently someone is going to butcher a yellow fin tuna. Then there is Ceres, the sailing ship that has transported 15 tons of vegetables and other farm goods all the way from Lake Champlain. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Garlic Seed Stock For Sale

I have nearly two hundred of the highest quality, organically grown, seed-sized garlic bulbs for sale. Because I decided to scale back my production this coming season, yet my garlic seed was already on order, I paid for 2 times more garlic than I can plant. Now, I am offering this garlic seed for sale to you at my cost. I will not put this garlic for sale on my culinary garlic site, Hudson Clove. If you are interested in planting garlic, but haven't ordered any (you will find most sources have long ago sold out), send an email to with the strain and quantity you are interested in. I will email you back. Late October into November is the ideal time to plant garlic in our area, so you will receive your garlic exactly at the right time. $3.50 per bulb plus shipping if necessary.

I will receive additional varieties and strains later in the week and will add those to this list. Expect to see a few Artichoke (Lorz, Red Toch) , Silverskin (Nootka Rose, Silverwhite), Asiatic (Asian Tempest, Japanese), and Rocambole (Killarney Red). Below are photographs of the bulbs for sale, the strain, variety and quantity. 

Georgian Fire, Porcelain varietal (20 bulbs)

German Extra Hardy, a Porcelain varietal (17 bulbs)

Chesnok Red, a Purple Stripe varietal (26 bulbs)

 Russian Red, a Rocambole varietal (28 bulbs)

 Siberian, a Marbled Purple Stripe varietal (60 bulbs)

Xian, a Turban varietal (7 bulbs)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Open Season

For entirely selfish reasons I am happy that the shutdown is over. I enjoy the beach farm mid-to-late autumn quite possibly more than any other time. Air blows from the northwest, and the birds, my, my the birds swarm and loop in forms and groups. The cacophonous vibrato of hundreds of geese lifting and landing -I've heard this nowhere else.

But today it is silent except for my wind beaten eardrums and the sthittle tittle of desiccating leaves of solanaceae. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

The Fruit of Trespass

I think these are signs left over from Sandy.

While I planned a beach head incursion, I was surprised to find the side gate wide open. I walked swiftly doing my best invisible. When I arrived at the garden I felt quite exposed, partly because of the removal of the olive shrub near our plot. I expected someone to exit any of the houses within eye shot, sounding the alarm, black SUVs screeching to a sideways halt, handguns drawn. Freeze muthafucka, you're in violation of the will of the Congress of the United States of America!

The doors never opened. It was quiet and balmy, even the geese were sedate. I picked my peppers, lamented the hundreds of lost fruits across the gardens, and checked my saffron crocus (they were not ready). I pulled a few weeds and then headed back toward the gate. As I did an older couple entered, walking their dog. 

These are the peppers of trespass.

Near the gate, a peculiar goat.

I headed for the beach despite the signs admonishing that choice. Bicyclists and runners, a few, came and went. The waters were rough, an extratropical system to the south.

Here, the fence, to keep people off the dune-less shore. Then, a large black SUV sprung from nowhere, stopping short before the sand. I stood doing my best invisible. Then I turned and walked away as an old man approached. I turned to see if the SUV ejected some authoritative gesture toward him, but no, nothing.

The government of NO. 

*Update* I well suppose we're again open for business.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Turning The Corner

Today I signed the document terminating my relationship with Industry City. It was a stressful and sour experience. I'm not sure how to communicate the psychological burden losing one's studio space is. I haven't been able to work in months. 

I arrived at Columbus Circle looking for some coffee, but the line was out the door. I had time to move along to the next only two blocks from the first. On approach I saw the shelters typical of a farmers' market at the triangle in front of Lincoln Center. I had no idea. 

The farmers' market always picks me up. The exhilaration of shopping, the cornucopia of colors and textures puts me right where I want to be. Hell, it's food, right -that's where I want to be. I bought apples (a customer implored me to buy Winesap but after the first bite I thought the skin was leathery) and an heirloom wheat baguette. Turning the corner, the scent of rosemary.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Republican Garden Shutdown Week Two

Republican congressmen who oppose health care initiatives have shut down the government for nearly two weeks. For this reason the site of my only autumn gardening has been locked up and so for this reason these Republicans have said to me and my gardening peers -you will not garden as long as you support health care initiatives. Believe me when I say that many of my gardening peers are likely Republicans but since I do not see them away from the garden I cannot ask them how they feel about the Republican shut down of the garden.

I may have to make a covert trip. Under cover of night? Early in the morning dressed as autumnal haze? Will I be caught? Is anyone looking? It's a real shame about those last of the season tomatoes and peppers, isn't it? I know it's small compared to those who are bearing the real weight of the shut down but that is why it goads me. A fence and 30 extreme Republicans standing between me and a pepper.

I should dig a tunnel.

We went upstate on Sunday to look at properties. We are looking at work space and living space, close and afar. I'd like a more peaceful life, but then who wouldn't? I'd like to get home from work before 10 pm with more than one or two home-cooked meals a week. We work 12 hour days all too regularly. Wages at the college have stagnated since 2009. I take adjunct professor positions to make a little extra (paid for the farm). I do side projects (patio, electrical) to fix the van. I paid off my undergraduate loans this past May, but the studio rent goes up yearly by leaps and bounds.

I've decided to limit my farming to one tenth the quantity of this season. I've cultivated little taste for the driving. The hope is that we'll find space, wherever it is we go, to continue on at a slightly larger scale than this coming season. I will keep Hudson Clove alive and will sell some garlic next August. In lieu of hours of driving and weeding, I intend to refocus my energy on art making and also to say more about art. You may see that writing here (if not by another blog name).

The best news came in the form of an appointment to teach at next summer's Art New England. I will be instructing for one week on a subject of my own desire -landscape and meaning. The remuneration is good for six days' work -two thirds the compensation for an entire semester (15 weeks) and free room and board in lovely Bennington, Vermont.

On October 31 I will leave my studio of the last three years. They say it will take six to eight weeks to return my deposit. Of course it will. My studio mate of the last sixteen months will have to find a space. It's really nice having a friend where I work so I am sad that we will part ways. Believe me when I say that the era of artists renting industrial studios is near its end in NYC. Oh, yes, for the few it will still be possible via personal wealth, financial success in the gallery system, or the pitiful acceptance of renting a windowless 120 square feet for $500 and up a month.

As for our apartment, we are hanging on -for now.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Republican Garden Shutdown

Yeah it's been a hard week. I thought long about what I'd like to do on my day off. I chose the beach farm. It's been two weeks since my last visit and I'm sure to have peppers, squash, and maybe even a tomato to pick. My saffron crocus might be up so I brought paper bags to collect the flowers. But no, the beach farm is closed thanks to a Republican overreach quite grand in proportions. Good luck politicians. Expect your delivery of rotten garlic any day now. 
*Update* It's still shutdown.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Fiefdom

As of August 31 we have been without a lease at our studio. The limited liability corporation that runs the place wants us to move into new studios that are still being constructed on another street at about an 80 percent markup over our current rates (On top of last year's 40% increase). In the meantime, they've "allowed" us to continue staying and paying for our current space. However, we learned today, that as a strong arm tactic, they've decided not to cash our previous month's checks. How did we find out about this? Well, this month's bill showed two month's rent due as well as late payment charges! How despicable are they, while showing us the unfinished new spaces a week ago, do not even tell us that this is what they are doing. In fact, she first called it a miscommunication, to which I replied, no this is discommunication! Then she proceeded to blame me for not checking my bank statements to see that the check had not been deposited. Ahh, how do you woo your tenants!

I could not stand for it and demanded a new bill, but they refused. A new, no-late-charge bill will be issued when I sign a vacate document or sign a new lease. They refuse to cash my check for the prior month. I told them I will sign and vacate because I cannot possibly do business with people like them. All the while the lady smiles and speaks softly, so patronizingly telling me that it is a new era at Industry City where shit like this just doesn't happen.

But it just did. The woman who showed us the new spaces says that I am being hasty, irrational even. And I think not! She says think about what you are doing, asks what will I do with my things! Throw them away, after all what business is it of yours. If you want us to stay on you should not be holding our checks hostage, forcing us to decide without proper preparation or viewing of alternatives. No, this is a pinch you assholes and for better or worse I would rather not deal with you. On departure a dainty hand is extended but I am clammy with disgust and disquiet and offer this last bit of sweat for the shake.

To make matters worse, we have been having difficulty at our apartment but I am advised not to speak of it. Let's just say it is bad enough to make living there unpleasant and no longer a home. This weekend we are traveling north to look into some alternatives, and as risky as they might be I think we may be at our limits in NYC. I didn't think I could ever say that. I hate feeling this way, but NYC has a way of making one feel like they belong to a Feudal lord. 

Two weeks ago, a Sunday, as I sat in our van, I became suddenly aware that all our friends on the block own their own homes and are largely retired. They are now selling these homes, little wooden rowhouses, for a million dollars. The people who are buying have young children and an elephantine down payment. Many people in the neighborhood think I own our building because I garden there. Yes, we've put roots down, and that took years, but the earth we've attached to appears to be eroding right from under us.