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The fine art of making and eating a garden "Weed-o"

Friday, June 01, 2007

The past week has generally been cool and foggy, and our cold weather plants are still thriving in the garden.  Our productive little sorrel patches are doing very well, and many of the plants now have broad, bright green spinach-like leaves, sometimes up to four inches wide and nine inches long.  Their strong lemony flavor is a favorite with my children and their friends who visit our garden.  The children take particular delight in eating sorrel and using it to prepare their own hand-held garden salad wrap, referred to as a "Weed-o".


What is a Weed-o, you ask?  This ingenious creation was developed by my friend and colleague Rivka Mason, who is the garden teacher at Malcolm X  School in Berkeley, along with her students.  A Weed-o is a type of hand-held lettuce (or sorrel) wrap, filled with tasty "weeds" (edible things from the garden), and rolled up like a burrito.  To construct a Weed-o, a garden visitor typically picks a large sorrel or lettuce leaf, and lays it in the palm of their hand.  Then, as they walk through the garden, they add other tasty things that they see along the way.  The contents of a Weed-o changes with the season to reflect what is currently available in the garden.  It is also customized by its maker to reflect their own culinary tastes.


At this time of year, my four-year old daughter fills her Weed-os with bright green fava beans, blue borage flowers, vibrant yellow and orange nasturtium flowers, and the tiny dark green serrated leaves of salad brunette.  Another visiting child recently filled his sorrel leaves with feathery fennel fronds, thyme sprigs, and a dash of mint leaves.  An unlikely combination for my palate, but he enjoyed it immensely and made several the same way.  Over the next few weeks, I have the feeling that our ripening raspberry crop will find its way into Weed-os, too!


In addition to weed-os, our garden harvest this week included about 80 fava bean pods, enough for a fava bean dinner side dish for our family of four; green onions and Thai/Kieffer lime leaves used in an Asian-style stir fry dinner; rosemary, used to flavor some grilled lamb and a roasted potato dish; 3-4 pounds of lemons, given to friends, enjoyed in our water glasses each night, and included in a variety of recipes; and a few handfuls of tasty garden snacks including strawberries, and yellow and red raspberries.


Garden growth report:  Our young plum and pluot trees, planted 3.5 years ago, are producing their first small crop of fruit this year.  Each tree has about 5-10 pieces of fruit on it, and each is about 1" in diameter now.  We are counting the weeks until they will be ready, and hope that the local birds and squirrels don't pick them before we do.  Our berry patches are starting to ripen.  The ollalieberries and boysenberries are flowering and also showing signs of their first green fruits.  The raspberries are ahead, and are tempting us with the first few ripe red and yellow berries.  More will be on the way, soon!  I also recently planted a new black current bush, and a few gooseberry plants.  I hope they will be productive in the years to come.

All opinions expressed are my own.
Copyright 2007 Sharon Danks