Ask the Expert: Make a Meal with Farmers' Market Ingredients

Local experts answer everyday questions in this feature.

With summer in full swing and fresh fruits and vegetables in abundance, what better place to go to find seasonal delights than the ?

While there on Saturday, the Bialas Farms stand was offering up garlic scapes. Owner Kasha Bialas explained what garlic scapes are, as well as how to use them in cooking.

A member of the allium family, garlic grows underground where the bulb is formed, revealed Bialas. As the bulb matures, it sends up a green, curled shoot through the ground known as a scape. If the scape is not removed, it impedes further growth of the bulb. So when farmers cut the scape and then later harvest the bulb, they essentially reap two crops from one.

"When used for cooking, scapes can be chopped up like garlic offering a lighter taste than from the garlic bulb," explained Kasha. "They can also be cut into strips, sautéed in butter and placed on a steak or burger."   

One of Kasha’s recipes using scapes is her Spicy Spinach and Basil Pasta.

Spicy Spinach and Basil Pasta (a ‘barely cooked’ recipe)


  • ½ lb. pasta
  • Big handful of fresh spinach leaves, cut into ribbons
  • Fresh garlic scapes minced, chopped or sliced (your choice)
  • Several sprigs fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
  • Handful of marinated artichoke hearts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Handful of sweet ‘n’ spicy peppadew pickled peppers, cut into bite-size pieces olive oil, salt/pepper and shaved pecorino romano cheese



  1. Cook the pasta in salted water until just tender. Drain and immediately return to pan. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
  2. Add the next five ingredients, drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil and stir well. The hot pasta will wilt the spinach the perfect amount. 
  3. Season to taste and top each serving with a generous bit of shaved pecorino. Enjoy at room temperature!

For more quick and easy Bialas Farms recipes, visit thefarmgirlcooks.wordpress.com

Katie Ryan O'Connor July 06, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Great recipe! I'm definitely trying. I'll admit I've never cooked with garlic scapes before but I love everything about spinach and artichoke hearts.


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