transitional garlic, in the first week of summer

It’s June 25, and this is my first sighting of garlic in a shape that looks pretty much like what most people would recognize as belonging to this extraordinary allium. I’ll call it ‘transitional garlic’. It fits somewhere between ‘spring garlic’ (which first appears as a spear looking almost exactly like a scallion, then developing more and more into a bulbous clove enclosure, or ‘garlic round’), and the mature garlic head with its separate cloves and papery, protective layers of skin.

The photograph is of a bucket of young garlic heads at the Phillips Farms stand in the Union Square Greenmarket. Just after taking the picture, I reached into the container to pick out one of them and, even more touching them, I caught their beautiful, innocent scent (think garlic as fruit), a delicate tease of a more mature form that we will be enjoying later in the summer.