Archives for posts with tag: Hudson Valley Garlic Festival

marbled-purple-stripe-garlic-grand-gorge-garlic-and-maple-farm

Marbled Purple Stripe garlic. Picture by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm

Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm is located in New York and is a regular at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival selling organic garlic, maple syrup and (new this year) blue potatoes.

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Spanish Roja garlic by Grand Gorge Garlic at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival last year

Fred, an expert grower at the farm generously took the time to tell me about the farm. “I’ve always loved garlic and growing plants. In 2005 I inherited an abandoned plot of garlic in a field adjacent to my cabin. Because the garlic had been untended, it had a head (umbel) full of seeds (bulbils) so I planted the bulbils, sewing the seeds the way nature intended.”

harvesting-garlic-grand-gorge-garlic-and-maple-farm

Fred on the farm, you can see the entire garlic plant in this picture.

“This led to the discovery that allowing the scapes (flower buds) to grow and develop into umbels (seed heads) has some benefits – the dried garlic has better longevity, stays dormant longer and does not sprout internally. It does not go soft, has plenty of oil and a better flavor. So this is how we harvest our garlic at the farm – with the stem, leaves and umbels uncut.”

Garlic farmer with turban varietal garlic at Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm

Fred with a turban varietal at the farm. Picture by Grand Gorge Garlic & Maple Farm.

Fred explained that healthy soil is vital for a successful harvest “Our method is a two-year rotation. In the first year, the planting bed is prepared. Aged manure (about three years old) is spread over the surface. Soil testing will dictate whether nutrients should be added (sea minerals, lime or magnesium).”

Rocambole garlic bubils enclosed in umbel.

Rocambole bubils enclosed in umbels. Picture by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm

“In the second year, buckwheat is grown as a cover crop and weeds are allowed to grow. These plants provide food for pollinating insects. A local herbalist harvests the wild plants because after many years of organic farming, the soil is so pure. We are a certified organic farm and have passed inspections by NOFA.” (NOFA is the North East Organic Farming Association)

“In the 3rd week of September, the cover crops are chopped up and the soil is tilled. Garlic is planted about mid-October, then the soil is covered with a 6 inch layer of straw mulch.”

The garlic is harvested in July the following year. We grow about 50,000 bulbs including rare varieties. The bulbs are dried in a home-made drying shed which is open at both ends to allow a breeze to flow through.”

Sign about garlic

A sign at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.

How to grow garlic in your backyard – Fred shared these tips

  1. Take a test of the soil. Your local Cornell Cooperative Extension can help with this
  1. Add nutrients/amendments to the soil per the results of the soil test.
  1. Plant the garlic cloves or bulbils in mid to late October (for the Hudson Valley region)
  1. plant the garlic cloves or bulbils pointy end up. Plant in rows with the cloves 2-3 ” deep, 6″ to 8″ apart.
  1. The following year, when the garlic has started to grow, don’t cut the scapes, let the umbels form
  1. When the top 4 leaves are 50% brown it’s time to harvest. This usually coincides with the hottest days of the summer in July.
  1. Dry (cure) the garlic with the stem, leaves attached and umbels attached.
  1. Don’t break the bulb up until just before eating or planting.
  1. Bulbils can be used as seed for subsequent crops or eaten on salad/stirred into sauces/on sandwiches.

Fred is proud to say “This year we are harvesting organic blue potatoes and they will be available at the Garlic Festival. (The USDA has found up to 35 different chemicals on non-organic potatoes). Our potatoes are heavy and nutrient-dense. Partner them with our garlic for the best garlic-mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted – off the charts!”

basket of garlic

Grand Gorge Garlic at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival in 2014

Fred is proud to say that “2015 is a banner year for Grand Gorge Garlic.”

I think we are very fortunate to have successful organic farms in New York, let’s support them at the Garlic Festival!

Asiatic garlic

Asiatic garlic. Picture by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm

Maple syrup by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple Farm

Maple syrup by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple

Maple syrup by Grand Gorge Garlic and Maple

A wooden bear sculpture with a chalk-board sign for maple syrup

I sampled the syrup and it is unbelievably good – not too sweet with an intense flavor!


Nasturtium by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Nasturtium by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

The Hudson Valley Garlic Festival takes place September 26th and 27th this year. In addition to the garlic farms, there are many independent vendors and craftspeople selling their beautiful artwork.

One of the vendors at the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is ‘Wildflower Graphics’. They provide a selection of studio printed note cards, ceramic tiles, framed and mounted prints among other items with original illustrations of flowers based using the design language of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The original designs are produced by husband and wife team, Lynne and Richie Bittner.

Lupine by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Lupine by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Lynne explained producing each design is a long process and starts with her doing a line drawing. The drawing is developed into design which is scanned digitally. Then Lynne and Richie work together to add color and texture to produce the final digital image.

As a child, Lynne was always attracted to wildflowers, in her early 20s, purely by chance she came across the book ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ which is a hand-written journal with watercolor studies of nature done by Edith Holden in 1906 in England and Scotland. Discovering the book was a transforming moment for Lynne and she began to teach herself to illustrate and watercolor wildflowers, though it took a while for her to actually pursue her dream of making a living by doing it. After a career doing custom carpentry and wanting a change, Lynne and Richie thought deeply about starting a business selling note cards. They followed their dream and founded Wildflower Graphics. Most of the illustrations are of wildflowers, but there are also a few illustrations of cultivated varieties as Lynne is a flower gardener as well.

Wild Ginger by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Wild Ginger by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Of the Garlic Festival, Lynne says “We always love being out among customers that appreciate what we do and enjoy the wonderful feedback from customers at the festival. There’s a festive atmosphere, people just love being there. The smell of garlic cooking and the entertainment, Morris dancing – the organizers do a great job.”

There will be some new designs at this year’s Garlic Festival! – stop by their booth and take a look.

Lynne and Richie are always on the lookout for additional retail outlets for their cards – if you have any suggestions please let them know via their website (click here).

Thistle by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Thistle by Lynne and Richie Bittner, Wildflower Graphics

Click here for more information about the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival.

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