If you find a farmer who sells garlic, don't hesitate - grab as much as you can while the grabbing is good! Fresh local garlic is like culinary gold, and you can be sure that the farmer's stock will be cleaned out by the time you finish your tour of the market.
Besides tasting cleaner, brighter, and altogether more garlicky than any you'll find in the grocery store, garlic will keep for several weeks when stored in a cool, dry place. So we don't empty our entire wallet, we buy a few heads at a time every week so that by the time the markets close, we have a nice stash to see us into the cold season!
There are dozens of little-known heirloom varieties of garlic that you might never see or hear of outside the region where you live. Some are great minced into salads raw and others do well in slow braises, some have a spicy flavor and some are completely mellow. Talk to the farmer about what they're selling and how they suggest using each kind.
We find that farmers who grow and sell garlic are few and far between. Do you have a source for local garlic where you live? Please share!
(Image: Emma Christensen)