Good Garlic

. . . if you grow good garlic people will love you for it.
Stanley Crawford

Photo Credit: P. Nixon

Photo Credit: P. Nixon

“Are you Stan?”  I blurted out the words before I had time to think it through.

Tuesday morning at the farmers’ market—I have not yet settled on one shopping strategy.  Should I look at every string bean and head of lettuce and then return to make my purchases, or should  I buy whatever strikes my fancy on the first pass.  Both have their merits but on this day, at the height of the growing season, I opted for the former and found that the gorgeous tomato with purple streaks I had admired as I walked by the first time was in someone else’s hand when I returned.

My tomato regret was forgotten by the time I got back to Crawford’s garlic stand.  I had noticed the  mounds of fragrant bulbs as I strolled by and somewhere along the way, without consciously working it out, all of the pieces had assembled themselves in my mind by the time I returned.

Mr. Crawford, seated at the rear of the stand behind the lug crates heaped with garlic, was gracious.  He nodded in answer to my question and inquired who I was.  Slightly embarrassed, I introduced myself and told him I had read his books about farming in New Mexico—ten or fifteen years ago.

Crawford’s garlic bears little resemblance to the dried out bulbs from the grocery store that I make do with too many months of the year.  One of my favorite ways to appreciate this local treasure is to  top thick slices of fresh-baked farmhouse or sourdough bread with a mix of chopped heirloom tomatoes (purple streaks optional), a clove or two of peeled and minced garlic, a sprinkle of  salt, a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar.  This summer treat is best savored outdoors, sitting in the sun.

On my next trip to the market I’ll take my copy of A Garlic Testament for Stan to sign and I’ll try not to ask any stupid questions about vampires.


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