Celebrate Local Garlic
Last week, I shared my tale of exasperation over Chinese garlic in the supermarket. Why, I wondered out loud, at the height of local garlic season, was I only finding garlic from the other side of the world?
In particular, I was concerned about the supply of Chinese garlic at my local Whole Foods, which touts itself as a steward of sustainability. If a woman in Austin, Tex. can deliver 17 heads of lettuce a week from her farm to a nearby Whole Foods store, why can't a similar relationship be arranged among garlic growers in the Maryland-Virginia-West Virginia region and Washington area Whole Foods locations?
I have not yet given Whole Foods a chance to respond to this question, but it's at the top of my to-do list and I will keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, get your garlic where it's good and local -- at the farmer's markets. I've seen it at Arlington Courthouse, Columbia Pike and Clarendon markets, selling for about $1.50 per bulb. Its bulbs are still slightly soft and faintly sweet (think sweet onion) in flavor.
As a regular garlic user, I stock up on four or five bulbs at a time, to have at the ready for mixing into sauteed veggies, sauces and marinades. If you want to celebrate its arrival and go for a full-on garlic experience, try your very own Caesar salad, with a garlicky vinaigrette that will send you to the moon. It stinks up the kitchen (and your breath), but so what. It's so good you'll lap up the bowl.
By the way, as part of my garlic investigation, I am heading out to garlic country at the end of the month. I'll be attending the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif, and will be blogging on my adventures there. Stay tuned July 31!
Talk to me. I'm all yours, today at noon, for a whole hour. What's Cooking is where the kitchen kids hang out, every Tuesday.
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