Nothing can compare to the taste of garlic from the garden. I'm sure that's no surprise to gardeners, everything taste better picked close to home. The fresh cloves drip with liquid when crushed or chopped; the smell is unmistakable and wonderful. And when it releases its intoxicating aroma as it hits hot olive oil in a pan, it smells like home..at least to me.
I'm a garlic junkie, growing 10 or more different varieties, tasting raw cloves to experience the nuance each one offers.
The cloves are planted until October, but this is the time to search for local garlic for planting. Don't bother with supermarket garlic, it's often sprayed with something that stops it from sprouting or isn't hardy in our area.
The garlic above is from Janoski's Farm in Clinton. It's sold to eat, but is perfect for planting. You can find other local garlics at farmer's markets or good produce stores.
If you're really into garlic like I am, join me for Red, Ripe and Roasted, the Tomato and Garlic Festival at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens on August 29th, 2010 from 11am-5pm. There you'll find cooking demos, a tomato taste off, roasted garlic and lots of different varieties of garlic for planting. I'll be doing some cooking and signing copies of Tomatoes Garlic Basil, which you can also find at the PG Store.
If you bring some produce to the festival you get in for free and the food goes directly to the Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
Find some garlic and plant it, you'll harvest next year in July and you'll never want store bought garlic again.