Dear orchard friends,

One of my goals going forward in my life is to eat more wild foods, and to learn about what parts of plants are edible or have medicinal value. Of course, that is a tall undertaking! And dangerous if you don’t harvest at the right time, eat the proper part of the plant, and prepare the plant in the proper way to avoid poisonous tendencies the plants use to protect themselves. 
To get me jump started, I found a book at our new, amazing, Raven Bookshop in the Mill, The Wild Vegan Cookbook by “Wildman” Steve Brill, with subtitle “A forager’s culinary guide (in the wild or in the supermarket) in preparing and savoring wild (and not so wild) natural foods.”

With that as support, I’ll try to send seasonal blogs about plants you can come harvest in the orchard to use at home! If you want to try foraging in the orchard, reach out to me to plan a time to meet so I can show you where to find whatever plant you’re looking for. Then take it home and share your recipes with all of us. 
The orchard is intended as a place to grow local cottage businesses,  especially for people with creative ingenuity but no land of their own to grow on. So if you, or a friend, have an idea for selling herbs or fruit pies or infused oils or flower bouquets or whatever, please let me know so we can get you started harvesting, and we can plant more of whatever you need.
Right now there’s commonly used herbs galore such as thyme, oregano, horseradish, mint, and garlic scapes, raspberries and (just a few) baby blueberries! But also less commonly used plants ready for harvest such as daylilies, common milkweed, bayberry, elderberry flowers, just to name a few. 
To get us started I’m focusing today on garlic scapes (the tender stem of the hard neck garlic plant) and daylilies
For everything you want to know about when to harvest garlic scapes:
You can pickle them, saute them, make pesto, and they are delicious and keep well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. 
7 ways to use scapes in recipes for Green Garlic Risotto, Greens with Green Garlic and Prosciutto, Gluten Free Garlic Scape Soup, Garlic Scape Dressing, Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto, Pasta Salad with Spinach, Chickpeas and Garlic Scapes, or Pickled Garlic Scapes
or for Basic Sauteed Garlic Scapes
  • 8 ounces garlic scapes, cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the scapes and allow to cook, tossing occasionally, for about 4 minutes or until they begin to brown.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add olive oil. Toss to coat the scapes. Cook for an additional minute.
  3. Add the soy sauce and toss to coat for 30 seconds. Be careful as the pan will be hot and might spit.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the rice wine vinegar. Toss to combine and allow to rest in the pan for 30 seconds before serving.
The sweet, spicy flavor of the day lily inspired Chinese chefs to give them the name “golden needles.”   They are interchangeable to prepare like squash flowers, either deep fried in batter, simmered for 5 minutes in soups, raw in salads, or stuffed and baked. The are perishable and need to be eaten the day they are collected.
Hot and Sour Day Lily Soup
8 c vegetable stock
1/2 cup arrowroot or kudzu
1/2 t allspice OR 2 chopped spicebush berries
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1/4 c red wine
2T water
2T honey
1 t dried tarragon
1T chili paste OR 1/2 t cayenne pepper
1t tamari soy sauce
1/2 t tumeric
1/4 t orange extract
1 packed cup daylily flowers
1. Combine 3 cups stock, arrow-root, and allspice and process until smooth (blender helpful).
2. Transfer the puree to a large saucepan, add the remaining ingredients, except the daylily flowers, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, sovered, for 10 minutes, stirring often.
3. Stir in the daylily flowers and simmer for another 5 minutes.
As a last note, whenever foraging, be certain of the plants you are picking and the careful instructions which parts AREN’T poisonous!!!
Until next foraging installment, ENJOY the wild wonders, from your co-creator of the Shelburne Falls COMMUNITY Orchard,

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