These early brilliant greens are often referred to as weeds. Weeds are commonly defined as plants in the wrong place, which is where you have decided you don’t want them. Here at the Farm, many plants scorned by others are celebrated by us. Exquisitely flavored, healthy foods literally at my feet include chickweed (Stellaria media), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), and deadnettle (Lamium purpureum). Be certain to correctly identify your wild edibles before consuming.
There are numerous benefits to embracing wild edibles as a food source: food source for other species, nutritional value, availability, convenience, resilience and flavor. They are a testament to the basic landscape design of diversity. Let them be yet another reason not to apply poison to your soil. Here at the Farm, we have spent the last 19 years restoring soil health, biodiversity and ecosystem resilience without the use of synthetic chemicals. The Farm is not just a site for extraction, but more dramatically a program of replenishment. You too can remember this way of connecting to your personal environment and nurturing a sense of place.
I have not taken the time to explore how these once appreciated plants have come to be vilified but I will venture the guess that it is linked to industrialized agriculture and its associated poison and seed producing companies.
We are all fortunate that appreciation of and knowledge about wild edibles are once again on the rise. If you never owned, cannot find, or gave away Stalking the Wild Asparagus (E. Gibbons, 1962) check out Foraged Flavor (T. Wong & E. Leroux, 2012).