Opening up a little box from the post office, I was thrilled to see it filled with home grown garlic. "Greenville Tom" is a caller to my Sunday morning radio show on KDKA, sent me the precious gift out of his garden. Wrapped in brown paper were six giant heads of garlic with some loose cloves scattered about. Garlic from the garden is just like a tomato from the garden, filled with complex, wonderful flavors. Like fine wine, each variety offers something different. These didn't look like the pristine white cloves in the store; they were covered with crumbling soil, dried from six months of storage and tinged with purple. The next morning I gave a small clove a taste. It was sweet with just a little bite and a wonderful aftertaste that lasts for an hour. An elderly man gave Tom the garlic, he said came directly from Italy.
Staring at the papery husks that covered the cloves, I wondered how many families had used it as utilitarian ingredient offering a taste of home. Now it was a treasured gift that really can only be appreciated when passed from gardener to gardener.