You would think things are hot enough these days in Littlestown, PA, with Penn-Gate Skychief Finesse having her 21st daughter score Excellent this spring! But there’s a little more heat in the ground at Steve, Chrissy & Corbin Wood’s than meets the eye!
Garlic. Over 3,000 garlic plants to be exact. And the new horticultural hobby for Steve definitely has its perks. Working with a grower in Texas, Steve, Chrissy & Corbin spend each spring planting about 25 different varieties of the popular, health-craze spice, and their varieties feature three levels of heat or intensity.
Before putting the plants in the ground, each has to be soaked in rubbing alcohol for about five minutes right before planting. Garlic grows best with plenty of sunlight and in not-too-damp soil. Unlike other garden plants, the clove of garlic will separate into “daughter cloves” and continue repopulating. Ready for harvest late June and early July, the leaves will start dying back and the cloves themselves will get bigger. Harvesting needs to be done before the bulbs split and the wrappers begin to deteriorate. Another harvest precaution is sunlight. Garlic can get sunburned and some varieties change flavor when left in the sun too long.
The sideline business for Steve & Chrissy has been a welcomed change of pace. With over 12,000 cars passing their farm every day on the main highway, getting involved in a “cash crop” has been a good thing. “We enjoy doing something a little different,” said Steve. We work with a great grower who handles our plants when they’re ready to harvest. The amount of time and effort we have to put into the crop is minimal, but it’s opened so many doors for us. It’s good to learn about new segments of agriculture and we think this is only going to grow in scale at Penn-Gate.”
The certified “naturally-grown” product will be ready for farmer’s markets and mass orders in about two weeks, as well as being used for the Woods’ own cooking! And once the garlic is done, it’s time for harvesting over 200 tomato plants (14 different varieties).
The next time you’re driving through southcentral Pennsylvania and you want to combine a cow/cash crop visit, why not spice it up with a stop in Littlestown? Steve & Chrissy would enjoy showing you what’s been keeping them busy these days!