Garlic! Growers have turned off the water. The stems are drying, nodding and folding over. They rattle in the hot summer thermals.
This time of the year, the roads are littered with bits of paper-thin skins that have skittered out of transport truck cages. The translucent scraps swoop and swirl as they are lifted by traffic.
As you drive down 99, somewhere between Manteca and Madera, you will smell a garlic processing plant in full swing. And if it is just before lunch, you will long for a plate of spaghetti or a strong salsa or some chimmichuri sauce as your stomach begins to growl.