Garlic & Shallots & Scapes, Oh My!

Monday, August 21, 2006

While this little food blog normally focuses on Sacramento and it's surrounding areas, I figured we would take a little field trip up north to the Klamath Basin in Oregon where we find the WC Ranch. Why have we traveled here you ask? Well this frosty and fertile piece of land is home to Big John's Garden, a little family owned organic farm producing some of the tastiest, sulfenic little bits you ever did try!

While Big John and his family are loved by many for their greenhouse produced-with-love chard, cucumbers, and other various yumtastic greens, they're famous for their garlic, shallots, and scapes (the greenery above the garlic bulb, perfect in lasagna and tamales). Garlic and shallots originate from Siberia and lurv themselves some cold, cold ground. The colder the area, the stronger the flavor. Add some tender lovin' care, labor intensive work, and organic growing conditions and you have a recipe for some rockin' tasty treats.

I personally heart garlic, as obvious by the blog title (as I am to cumin, tarragon, and a few others but that would just be too long for a title I guess) and so I talked to Alexandra Day, a member of Big John's family, about the recent website creation of theirs and their work with the various types of shallots and garlic they have to offer;

This has been such a fun (and hard at the same time) project, and I wonder whether much of that has to do with the fact that garlic seems to get such a positive reception wherever it goes. ...I've had some of the garlic and shallots and I can almost taste all of the care that went it to them!

The new website offers a background of Big John's outlook on organic farming, snippits of the family gorwing them, and even information on how to grow your own garlic and shallots, spreadin' the luv! As I've said before, background and the story behind food is what give it that extra flavor, that knowledge of each flavor's past and existence creating the subtle play on the back of your tongue. It give's food, and in respect each flavor, life.

After talking to Alex and checking out images of the farm I, if anything, gained more appreciation for the American farmer. The time and trial it takes to grow something organic and pure, something I haven't really grasped in a long time since reading Epitaph for a Peach. This visual choras of a shallot brings the "Eat Local" idea home. It gives me more respect for the farmers here around Sacramento, Davis, and all those mom-n-pop garlic farms down in Gilroy where most garlic has become industry grown. I also found myself roasting garlic later that night for some crostini and blue cheese, a snack that is a joy of a thousand joys and a delectable treat to reflect with.

Go check it out for yourself, and please remember go to your nearby farmer's market or fruit stand to eat local!


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