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Director's Notes

by David Stern

Thanksgiving Eve '94

For four days now the wind has blown the gusty blasts that suck away your body heat. First clear and from the south, then clouds from the west. At last, this morning, it came from the north across the lake, bringing 6 inches of snow that fell in 2 hours. All at once the time has come for me to change my life with this season and start to slow down and rest.

We've had a dry, mild fall - my first in 21 years here. The first killing frost delayed to the second week in October, followed by a clear warm (71 9 days ago), sunny month. The fall colors were brilliant and leaves held on the trees for weeks. I always have a list of jobs/chores, kind of a wish list of what I'd like to accomplish before the season ends, and the weather has been most cooperative. Each day things would get done, farm triage and the momentum and spirits grew. After working at an intense pace for the past 9 months, our bodies are in good shape. We move from major vegetable harvesting into the forest for firewood, then put on tool belts for construction and maintenance work, and finally get to rebuilding and repairing of machinery and putting it up for winter. Also 1-2 million pounds of compost! And planting garlic.

But tonight, as I walked this farm, it was all white - even small drifts of 10-12 inches. When all is green on this land I try to close my eyes and envision it only white, with the vertical physical structures and their shadows. Now that it's white, I want the green definitions in shades and textures.

5 weeks later: The snow melted, the sun and green return and work continues. Today it is 65, a new record and about 50 off our normal for the date! Is this a message from Mother? I'm as confused and disoriented as the garlic! At long last I was able to send out over 100 requests for shirts and reprints and information. Many of you have waited for months and I appreciate your patience and endurance. We're slow when time is short, but we'll always follow through (calls and letters are great reminders for me to respond in a more timely way).

Growing the garlic keeps you in balance. All factors (land, fertility, equipment, labor, capital, markets) must come together to do a good job as a measure of your efficiency with this crop. This Foundation is the same way, and we falter from our over-extension. We need to look at growth and expansion that is a service to all members. We are not dedicated to a few large regional growers, anymore than to the home gardener, but we constantly need your help to keep us in balance. There is much to do. We need your help.

I hope that your holidays were joyous, and may '95 be a year of good health and bad breath to you all.

Director's Awards

1994 is the year that I need to recognize the authors who spend years of research and writing, and rewriting, gathering graphics and hassling with the printers. Then at last it's out, their name on the cover! And now the rest of the work, to sell it, get it out for people to read and enjoy, and learn. After many years with no books out there at all, we now have two good ones to read and enjoy.

Louis Van Deven took the past 20 years of collecting and cultivating alliums and put them into Onions and Garlic Forever. Louis has spent many hours in literature search and has included wonderful bits and pieces of humor, fact, and common folk knowledge.

Ron Engeland has written a book for those who want to grow garlic and understand the BIG picture. It answers many of the questions that we have all had when starting to get serious with garlic. Growing Great Garlic takes us from Genghis Khan, to Agronomy 101, to botanical classifications and cultural practices, and into the market place.

Our small industry owes a great deal to both of these writers/botanists/growers for their efforts to help us all learn and understand and think and ask. It's my pleasure to present the 1994 GSF Director's Awards to Louis Van Deven from Carrollton, Illinois and to Ron Engeland of Okanogan, Washington.


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