Family Garlic Harvesting Day at Ambler Farm

By Analiese Paik

After growing garlic for the first time last year, I can understand why Ambler Farm thought it would be fun for families to harvest their own from the farm on July 14. Put one clove in the ground in the late fall (or early winter), watch the greens come up in the spring, then start to wilt, and when just the right number have wilted, it’s time to harvest a head in July.

Hard neck garlic in our raised beds ready to be harvested in July.

Gently lifting the heads of hard neck garlic from the earth with the help of a gardening fork was like unearthing buried treasure for me and my children. We gently brushed the dark earth from the outer skin, being careful not to break it, counted the cloves by moving our fingers along the bulges, and surveyed the quality of each head, declaring the grades as scrawny, good sized and plump.

Unearthing each head became a game. Will the size of the stalk determine the size of the bulb?

Some cloves were already separating from one another, a sign that they should have been harvested earlier. I remembered the advice we had gotten from a farmer to not cut the heads from the stalks lest it introduce bacteria or mold, and smiled as I dispensed the knowledge to my children. The heads dried beautifully under the well-ventilated, dirt-floored room under our three-season porch. As summer gave way to fall and winter, we’d reach into our stash in the paper bag behind the couch in the living room each time a dish called for garlic. Sure enough, not one clove sprouted, molded or rotted from being safely tucked away in the dark, dry bag.

We knew the bulbs with separated cloves wouldn't store well, so we made sure to eat those first. The garlic was stored in a well-ventilated, shady area to dry.

Ambler Farm Family Harvest Day
Saturday, July 14th
9:30 – 11am
$15/family includes 5 heads of garlic (purchase additional garlic and fresh, organic vegetables at the  farm stand)

Program Manager Kevin Meehan and Farmer Jonathan Kirschner will teach you all about garlic – from planting, harvesting, drying and storing – as you harvest your own organic garlic.

Register by calling or emailing the farm or registering online  via Brown Paper Ticket.

257 Hurlbutt Street, Wilton CT 06897


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