Wednesday, April 01, 2009

One of the best parts about fraternizing with someone who grew up in the wild fields outside of Santa Cruz is their knowledge of wild things. M. knows all sorts of stuff about grasses, and leaves, and foliage and what can and can't be consumed by humans.

I thought the delicate white flowers that topped green, leggy stalks in our back yard were a pretty first sign of spring. They seemed perfect for petite bouquets to put by the bedside or in the bathroom. But it turns out this pretty flower is actually green garlic, and our back yard is full of it. It creeps up through the cracks in the stairs, mixes in with the regular weeds, and grows taller and even more hearty.

Lately we have been harvesting the green garlic. By we, I mean M. The one time I was sent to pick the garlic it was nearly dark and I instead picked a bunch of weeds. Apparently my green thumb does not get any more astute in the dark.

M. picks the green garlic then picks through it to remove weeds or other inedibles, pulls off the lovely white flowered tips, washes it good, boils it good, and then purees it into a delightful green sauce that has been in omelets, on bowls of black bean soup, or artfully drizzled over seared fish.

It is fun to eat something that is grown in your very own yard, even if you didn't plant it there or do anything at all to help it grow. I am inspired to start fixing up the wild space that I peer at out the back window. It is weird and terraced, at a very steep angle and overrun with all sorts of growing stuff. It is hard to imagine a real garden growing back there, but maybe it could happen. I am dreaming of something small -- maybe a little herb garden or a patch of tomatoes?

I am hopeful my urban farmer will be on board, my black thumb has never gotten me very far.

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