Winter is a time to reflect, to question and to envision a path forward. I found insight in this talk by Italian ethno-botanist Andrea Pieroni at the MAD symposium in Copenhagen.
Pieroni speaks about the language of food, science and culture. He believes science needs to step back and learn from traditional knowledge, that the scientific taxonomy of plants doesn’t tell us the human stories about communities of people, plants and their relationships. How plants are celebrated, prepared or eaten is often narrated in the context of traditional names of common plants. Andrea states that the cultural information becomes lost in the language of science.
Andrea’s challenge to build a platform to educate young people and all of us about where our food comes from inspires us.
We have built our vision of this educational platform on our farm, check out the 2015 workshops. Now we need you to share the vision, help us make 2015 Quillisascut Farm workshops the best ever! Sign-up, tell your friends, the table is set.
Here is Andrea Pieroni at the 2012 MAD Symposium.
My sister has a lovely garden, last year she decided to try transplanting some of the tiny carrot plants. Some of you may have had this idea. Carrot seeds are small and planting a row can be tedious, maybe transplanting could solve the problems of weeds crowding out the baby plants and the need for heavy thinning later when the plants are established. I asked her to share her carrot transplanting experience with us.
Training Your Carrots To Sit
Don’t Transplant Your Carrots
Not all carrots will sit. One must practice patience and balance. Sorting through the carrots after they are clipped and scrubbed, the better students will show themselves. Don’t even try to train the hugging, the kicking, or the straight (where did THAT one come from?) carrots. Set them aside for other displays or possibly for eating.
To gain the properly trained carrots for sitting, plant your carrot seeds as usual. When they are about an inch to an inch and a half high, dig them up with a knitting needle. Poke a new hole for the transplant and place the baby carrot down in the new hole. Guide it in with the knitting needle. Because the hair-like roots have been moved, the carrot will grow in a new and unique shape. Early fall dig your special vegetables. Sort them carefully to find the ones bent at a 90 degree angle. These will sit the best. Be advised that the carrots must be screened and censored for X-rated forms and positions.
As Janae said, all carrots are not as well schooled in sitting here are some of the rejects (or x-rated).
Winter Cress, Yellow Rocket, or Barbara’s Cress (Barbarea vulgaris, R. Br. member of a large family of plants, cruciferae, brassica and mustard) Named for Saint Barbara since the herb can be harvested during the cold winter months, Saint Barbara’s Day is December 4 and used as a salad green.
Surprising how quickly we forget the use of wild foods when it is so simple to fill our refrigerator with store purchased produce. Late in April, during the Intro to Farming workshop we wanted to include some fresh and foraged foods in our meal so Rick took a group of students to the nettle patch. It was a prosperous harvest, as they also came across a large area of Winter Cress that was beginning to form florets.
Rick had them harvest a shopping bag full of cress, along with another paper sack of nettles. Continue reading
I love ingredients so this idea of playing with Serviceberry flowers is my idea of fun.
Serviceberries are one of the tastier wild fruits at Quillisascut and the easiest for us to savor fresh from the bush (think about elderberries, rosehips, Oregon grape, and chokecherries which all need additional sweetener and you will understand the context of tasty) Serviceberries are slightly sweet with a hint of bitter almond. Last year I was eager to make bitters so I tried macerating the ripe berries in vodka and it did give a slight almond flavor to the infusion. Today while the trees are still flowering I steeped some of the flowers in vodka and others were infused in simple syrup. The flavor is wonderfully bitter almond! Continue reading
Spring with all it’s forceful energy can be overwhelming so I decided to take a little break and pick you a bouquet of wildflowers.
These flowers, Arrowleaf Balsam Root, Serviceberries, and Wooly Britches, all grow along the driveway here at Quillisascut. It is a favored time of year for a walk through natures beautiful garden. With every shade of green you can imagine, soft textures and the toughness to endure. I think it is the perfect garden all it requires is to open your eyes, see the transformation and enjoy. Take a walk with me down the driveway. That is easy work!