As you’d expect, the learning curve here has been pretty steep over the last three years. Sure I’d trained in horticulture and practiced it for well over a decade, and most of that was in other people’s gardens. But the world of vegetable growing has opened up a whole new gamet of plants and how to grow them. And then there is how to care for them once they’ve been harvested, but I digress.
Who’s heard of spring garlic? Until a little over a year ago, neither had we. Also often called green garlic, basically it’s undersize garlic that is lifted from the beds in spring as they are thinned to allow the larger garlic to reach it full size.
We’ve been having it sauteed in butter with asparagus and Near River poached eggs and now chef Todd Richardson of The Corner Restaurant in Port Macquarie will have Near River spring garlic on the menu shortly too. Todd suggests that “It goes well with twice cooked beef, the Corner’s own caramelised onion and truffle oil. The garlic is best slowly roasted. And be quick as the green garlic is only in season for less than a month each year.”
This is quite exciting for us as we’re keen to develop a strong bond with a couple of key chefs to provide great produce for, and it seems that we are on our way to that happening.
Here’s what Stephanie Alexander says about garlic –
“Newly harvested garlic can be used as soon as it is picked. It is a very special treat usually reserved for home gardeners. The cloves are crisp in texture (almost juicy) and the flavour is fresh and pungent. Wrap these freshly harvested heads in a piece of oiled foil and roast for 45-60 minutes in a 180C degree oven until quite soft, then squeeze this perfumed spread onto bread. Exquisite! Even before harvesting the garlic, a few of the green tops can be cut and used as flavouring, snipped straight into sauces, omelettes, soups, casseroles or stir-fries. Green garlic is very pungent and is best cooked rather than added raw to a salad.”
I just love finding out about all the new ways to use each of the vegetables and herbs that we are growing here at Near River – so much to learn and experience.