Foraging may not be the perfect rainy-day event, but we got a kick out of it and actually learned tons about what's growing right in our own backyard! Here's what we gathered yesterday afternoon:
Nearly all parts of the milk thistle plant can be consumed as a food without harm. The plant is however, best known for its medicinal benefits such as increasing appetite and aiding in digestion. It is also used to cleanse the liver, treat gall bladder disease, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis and poisoning. Most of the plant can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves for example, make a great spinach substitute when steamed (be sure to remove the sharp leaf-spines first). The seeds, when roasted, make a great coffee substitute. Side note: This plant almost looks identical to burdock.
Unlike Poison Sumac, which can be identified by its white drupes, the fruits from the Smooth and Staghorn Sumac form dense clusters of reddish drupes. The dried drupes can be ground to produce a tangy , tart purplish spice used in a variety of foods, including salad dressings, meats, rice and hummus. Sumac is also used to make a beverage like tea. This drink is made by soaking the drupes in cool water, rubbing them to extract the essence, straining the liquid through a cotton cloth and sweetening it.
The cattail is one of the most useful wild plants that aid in survival through edible, medicinal and other functional purposes. Cattails can be found all over the world in places with year-round standing water or wet soil, and can be identified by their characteristic brown seed head located a few inches from the top of the plant. In late spring to early summer the female flower spike (which later develops into the characteristic ‘cattail’ seed head) can be broken off and eaten like corn on the cob once boiled. Additionally the rootstock can be eaten raw or boiled – simply dig up the cattail and clean off the dirt from the root. Check out the small, pointed shoots called ‘corms’ coming off the root, which can be peeled and eaten or added to a salad.
Lastly, we came across milkweed. We found that you can actually harvest the unopened flower buds (which look like miniature heads of broccoli) and put them in soup, casserole, stir-fry etc, or simply boil them.
For more information: http://www.ediblewildfood.com
Setting up for betterArts’ Children’s Room at this year’s North Country Goes Green Irish Fest in Watertown March 16-18. Thanks to the volunteers who came out to support our sister organization, which functions to expand access to the arts for all. www.betterarts.org
Snack break on a snowy afternoon.
Our compost initiative is expanding! Many thanks to @clayton_food_co_op for getting on board by donating food scraps to Better Farm to be fed to our sanctuary animals and turned into soil. Food waste accounts for up to 40 percent of “garbage” — so separating scraps out of what we throw away means a massive reduction in landfill waste. Compost contributes to soil regeneration, and fresh food scraps replace or supplement animal feed, reducing carbon emissions associated with food processing and transportation. Composting is a radical act we can all be doing several times every single day.
When archaeologists visit Better Farm.
February 28. Canadian border of New York. Garlic already sprouting. #thesethingsarenotnormal
A little pre-spring dirt worship with the girls.
Get on the bus! Registration for our 2018 sustainability program is now open, with lots of dates to choose from! bit.ly/2oAFFnh
Very excited to announce our new partnership with DiPrinzio’s Kitchen in Clayton! The fine-dining Italian restaurant and catering company is saving all its table scraps to be used as Better Farm’s gardens and fed to the pigs and chickens. Big ups to @mollicathebaker for facilitating this fabulous new project!
Neigh-bors Riddler, Blaze and Red enjoying the breakfast buffet.
Sunday Funday with Buffalo the alpaca.
Nice haul today from a standing dead oak tree. #woodstoveseason
Somebody is SO EXCITED about all this fresh, organic hay! Thanks to everyone near and far who generously made donations to keep the hay supply flush alllllll winter long. Better Farm and all its beautiful beasts love you! 🐓🐖🦒🐴🦆🐥
Future’s so bright 😎
Day One of solar install complete!
Nobody digs a late-January thaw like Better Farm’s ducks. #youquackmeup #justducky
Celebrating #bootleggersday with some #templetonrye and Prohibition-era music all afternoon on Better Radio that would do any flapper, rum-runner, jazz musician or gangster proud.