Written by Marina Hodson
As I was driving home today, I was amazed at the number of raspberries beginning to show and it brought to mind the many opportunities we are blessed with to harvest fresh, organic food in this region.
Certainly on my property, both raspberries and gooseberries are starting to ripen and the wild apples are in overabundance this year. In May and June, we harvested some of the wild leeks which were shooting up throughout the forest and which made a great addition to stir-fries along with some of our wild garlic
While not everyone is as adventurous as I tend to be when it comes to food, I would highly recommend taking advantage of some of the unique and completely overlooked wild foods that surround us on a daily basis. Why not add some dandelion or plantain (broad or narrow leaf varieties can be found in most lawns) to your salad or greens? Of course, while harvesting weeds as food, don’t forget about the many health benefits of the lowly stinging nettle or the limitless use of wild mint in everything from cooking to tea.
As summer progresses, tuberous plants begin to mature across the province including cattails and Jerusalem Artichoke which not only makes a great addition to your dinner plate, but a lovely sunny flower for your perennial garden. Remember one person's weed is another’s wildflower.
Of course last, but certainly not least are the well-known and eternal favourites of the foraging kingdom – morels, fiddleheads and wild asparagus. Not only will harvesting your own get you outside and provide some exercise, it will also save you some of your hard-earned cash as these delicacies have shot up in price at markets and grocery stores.
So remember to see your surroundings for all they have to offer, both their beauty and their value as a healthy addition to your plate.