Wild Greens

Wild Greens (weeds):The definition of a weed is a plant that grows where we don't want it to. They are some of the most nutritional plants we have. Like the Lamb's Quarter, Purslane and Amaranth (pigweed) that we bring to market. Many are medicinal such as dog fennel, yellow dock, dodder, miners lettuce, ragweed, thistles etc. So we like many of our " weeds" . There is a good saying that the plants needed to heal you are usually the ones growing around you. Just take a look at what naturally grows the best where you live and consider the possibilities. All these greens are very nutritious Amaranth and lambs Quarter being #1 and #2 in nutrition. All three contain potassium, magnesium, phenylalaine and tryptophane which are anti -depressents.  Purslane has the most omega 3 fatty acids of all the leafy greens. These "wild greens" have been eaten for centuries and are by no means anything new. Our food choices have been narrowed down to a few plant species that we view as food but many of the neglected relatives of our food system are actually better for us and many are tastier. Amaranth is a great summer green when other greens aren't growing. Amaranth was bred by the Aztecs for grain production that they ground into flour. I have made amaranth flour and it is very tasty. Native peoples have popped the seeds like popcorn. Many of you have heard the story I tell at market about my mother weeding the garden and pulling these plants up while my grandmother would follow along behind her and complain about my mother wasting good food. My grandmother would make wilted salad out of it for supper that night. We choose our vegetable crops based on taste, adaptability to our region and we build our soil to make it the most nutritious we can. Then offer the powerhouses of nutrition to you for the health of you and yours. They are also tap rooted and bring up nutrients from the subsoil to provide nutrition to our other crops. In our view "weeds" have to be managed as a soil builder and vegetable. When they grow past the point of palatability or they start to shade out our other crops then we have to pull them but until then they are our friends. There are many ways to eat them,  raw in a salad is best but steamed or mixed together and steamed with a light dressing is great. They are also good in soups. Explore the range of your palate and increase your vegetable vocabulary.