Every other Wednesday for the month of April, my family went to this amazing farm where we attended a series of classes called The Earth is Our Home with these amazing people.
The first week was pre-cambrian maple sap boiling (that is, using smokin' hot rocks *not from a river* to boil sap in a wooden bowl). It was very interesting to us, in particular, because it happened to coincide perfectly with our own maple sugaring here at home.
The second week was making buckskin pouches. That day was a lot of fun, and in addition to learning to sew buckskin, we also learned some skills to help us be more observant.
Today's class, and the one I was actually most anticipating, was Wild Greens Day. Today, we foraged in the woods, and we ate what we gathered. It was amazing, and there is an amazing amount of food out there.
Chris said that he and Ashirah forage about 50% of their diet this time of year.
Talk about local ... and sustainable!
As a thank you to John and Stacy (the stewards of Broadturn Road Farm), we all helped them plant their potato crop - seven rows of potatoes, probably the length of a football field. That's a lot of potatoes!
I had the opportunity to talk a bit with Stacy. I asked her if they hand plant all of their crops. The answer was yes, and so I started telling her about my meager, little potato patch (all 16 sq feet of it), and she said she dreamed of something like mine. I thought it ironic, because I dream of something like what she has.
After a day outside in the woods, learning about foraging wild greens, and planting a (much larger) potato crop (than I'll ever plant here), I feel exhilarated, and incredibly tired ... but in a very good way.
And what did I learn?
It doesn't matter how the potato goes into the ground (although I'd heard it should be planted eyes up).
Japanese knotweed (which is an incredibly invasive, non-native species here) makes a great pie filling when mixed with maple syrup ... it's kind of like rhubarb.
A mess of dandelion greens tastes pretty, freakin' awesome sauted with a bit of butter and cheese crumbles.
And I can make a pretty decent pie crust out in the woods with a bit of flour, some butter, and a little water.