Monday, April 26, 2010

April spring encounters

The first foraging trip we took together was in the fall. Casey knew of a spot by the Susquehanna that I had never been to. We entered into the autumn beauty and walked along the path surrounded by paw paw trees. These native trees to our area are special for many reasons, the most selfish reason is eating their fruit! Paw paws taste in between a mango and a banana so all you regional local minded people, transition with these great native fruit. Since they are only out for a few weeks it was a lot of fun to go harvest together. Another great use of paw paw is their soft wood for making bow drill spindles. We also found hickory nuts, spicebush berries, and the first spotting of pine sap for both casey and me. This spring I was so excited to observe the early stages of the paw paw in these amazing flowers that remind me of orchids, tough yet so precise and unique, and they even have a sweet smell. ahhh paw paw. 

Since Casey is now famed for his morel foraging I've been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with him hunting for these great wild fungi. This was one of my first sightings under the may apples. I was super excited, especially for eating them later that night.

eli finds her first ever and is pumped! 

Casey's harvest of poke and morels in his hand crafted 
tulip poplar bag
Wild Garlic, Milkweed shoots, and Evening Primrose Roots 

This was the day we planted 250 native trees in the meadow by the Little Beaver Creek in Strasburg, part of the Chesapeake Bay Water Restoration project for my dad's land.

Plant Identification Workshop

Lancaster Farmacy taught workshops at the Lancaster Skill Share weekend 4/21. One workshop was on making plant medicine and the other a plant identification walk at the county park. We were happy to see so many people come out for these. Families, young folks, old folks and all of us sharing knowledge we have learned about medicinal uses of plants. 

Holding up a dug up Spring Beauty Corm. Sweet smelling and tasty. 

eli talks about the history of Spicebush Tree. A native plant used for strong tea by native americans to our area. colonists used the spicebush treed in place of imported tea during the tea boycotts from England.
Wild Ginger 

Casey harvesting the root of Wild Ginger 

Early April

Seedlings making their way strong at Riverview Organics Greenhouse in this pic are Mullein, Boneset, Pennyroyal, Holy Basil, Lavender, Bee Balm and so many 1,000's more!

A lot of our mature seedlings went off to customers all over the region 

Special heirloom pea variety that Rayne is helping us to plant. 

The sleeping giants of the newly tilled pea patch that Cedes did all on her own!

Nettle harvest in the foreground of marsh marigold in flower. 

Virginia Bluebells fill the hillside overlooking the Susquehanna River at Shenks Ferry. Magical!

Blue Cohosh finally unfurled. This plant is a powerful womens healing herb used as a uterine tonic, an emmenagoge. Great for premenstrual syndrome. 

Below Casey digs for some fresh spring beauty or cutleaf toothwort corms or maybe some fresh poke. 
Cut Leaf ToothWort  - The corms kind of look like teeth. It is an edible that tastes like horseradish so you can make your own wild garnish!

Early Poke (above) - This tender green is delicious if cooked the right way. Boil in water 3x before sauteing and it is a wonderful alternative to asparagus from the woods.

Wild Leeks/Ramps - Just like an onion/leek soooooo good!

Wild Leeks/Ramps - Just like an onion/leek soooooo good!

Japanese Knotweed (below)-  A highly invasive plant and delicious to eat. You can do two good things at once, harvest and cook and help keep native plants from being taken over.

This fresh from the woods wild harvest dinner has a little bit all of all these things 
(accept the Slow Rise bread)

Tulip Poplar emerging... a sign of morels

The Red Buds blossoming....!