Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Garlic breath

Personally, I like garlic breath. Never had a problem with it, although I know people who can't tolerate even one clove. So it was exciting to head for Wyck, the historic house in Germantown, for a lesson in heirloom garlic that included a tasting. This is Landon Jefferies, Wyck's farm manager, planting cloves of 'German White' and 'Keith's Rocambole,' two delicious varieties that are very popular at farmer's markets, including Wyck's. I never thought much about all this until I began reading about how Chinese growers have overtaken the American market. Growing conditions in China are in the news consistently, and not in a good way, so this trend isn't something to celebrate. Now, having tasted the garlic Landon grows, I hope I never have to use the supermarket type again. What flavor! Landon had baked some samples (slathered with olive oil) till the cloves oozed out of the blossom. We smooshed it on small bread rounds. It was heavenly. I've since bought several blossoms to plant this weekend. You just place the cloves, base side down, into a hole two inches deep and cover. Landon recommends against planting supermarket garlic, which has often been treated to prevent sprouting, probably been sprayed with pesticides and stored for months or longer. If you find garlic at a farmer's market or somewhere else that sells locally grown products, you can plop it in the ground around here till about Thanksgiving. You know this stuff will grow in our region, and you know it's fresh. Happy garlic breath! And hope you enjoy my story about Landon and the wonderful world of heirloom garlic in the paper tomorrow.

Garlic breath

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Personally, I like garlic breath. Never had a problem with it, although I know people who can't tolerate even one clove. So it was exciting to head for Wyck, the historic house in Germantown, for a lesson in heirloom garlic that included a tasting. This is Landon Jefferies, Wyck's farm manager, planting cloves of 'German White' and 'Keith's Rocambole,' two delicious varieties that are very popular at farmer's markets, including Wyck's. I never thought much about all this until I began reading about how Chinese growers have overtaken the American market. Growing conditions in China are in the news consistently, and not in a good way, so this trend isn't something to celebrate. Now, having tasted the garlic Landon grows, I hope I never have to use the supermarket type again. What flavor! Landon had baked some samples (slathered with olive oil) till the cloves oozed out of the blossom. We smooshed it on small bread rounds. It was heavenly. I've since bought several blossoms to plant this weekend. You just place the cloves, base side down, into a hole two inches deep and cover. Landon recommends against planting supermarket garlic, which has often been treated to prevent sprouting, probably been sprayed with pesticides and stored for months or longer. If you find garlic at a farmer's market or somewhere else that sells locally grown products, you can plop it in the ground around here till about Thanksgiving. You know this stuff will grow in our region, and you know it's fresh. Happy garlic breath! And hope you enjoy my story about Landon and the wonderful world of heirloom garlic in the paper tomorrow.

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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