This time of year the little things that are greening up make a big difference. The tiniest corner of green on a mini fiddle head that's just emerging makes me oooh and aaaah.
One of the projects I am tending to this season is the herbs and horticultural gardens. These are mainly perennials; plants that come back year after year. They all fall into one of the following categories: wild, edible, for teas or just for looks.
This afternoon, cleaning up the remains of winter over at Swallows Nest I did some scavenging. We are lucky, this farm has had a history of being nurtured for biodiversity. Even vigorous introduced species like stinging nettle, which has quite a presence on the farm, has really special value because of its powerful healing uses for humans.
You'll soon see the nettle in the CSA shares and down at the Seaport Farmer's Market at the Noggins stall. While it looks pretty sweet and harmless in this picture, within a week it'll have a very visible presence all over the farm. I love nettle, and drink the tea almost daily, because it is high in iron as well as protein. As a physically active woman, I think it's pretty important to keep the minerals coming in, and so I dry whatever I can't use when it is fresh and drink it during the winter months as well. I put it in a paper bag and hang it from the ceiling, where it's hotter and out of the way.
Sweet Cicely has just popped up this week as well. This anise scented green is a lovely addition to herbal lemonades and teas. I don't bother drying it as it loses most of its smell, but I do love it in combo with lemony flavours.
The best part of my treasure hunt was the buzz of activity around the Siberian Squill. I keep hearing that pollinators are struggling to survive these days, well, I think they have ALL found sanctuary at Swallows Nest. The trick with checking out cool little plant happenings is keeping your feet off them. I definitely took out a few Squill today in my hunt for the perfect picture. Next time you're down at the farm, take some time to wander and admire variety of plants and critters that make this place their home...or at least their take-out.
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