Growers have turned off the irrigation water and the garlic hollow stems are drying, nodding, and folding over on themselves. They knock and rattle in summer thermals.
This time of the year, the roads are littered with ragtag pieces of translucent skin that have skittered from transport cages. You will become mesmerized as they swoop and swirl in each traffic vortex. And as you drive down Highway 99, somewhere between Manteca and Madera, you will smell a garlic processing plant in full swing. If it is just before lunch, you will long for a plate of spaghetti or salsa or chimmichuri sauce as your stomach begins to growl.