Saturday, May 26, 2012

Edible Plants of Late Spring

One of my favorite things about foraging is how it increases my awareness of the world around me.  In particular, I notice the weather.  For the last three years, I have been keenly aware of how the weather patterns affect the availability, abundance, and timing of the edible plants we seek. 

The entire last year has been unusual in New England, and this spring is no exception.  Following almost 10 days of 80 degree weather in March, April was dry as a bone--we even feared forest fires.  But, May has brought weather so wet, I often feel like I live in a temperate rain forest.  In the past week alone, my grass and the peas in my garden have grown six inches!  (I measured!)   And so, now we rush to avoid missing the food abundance around us.  Our garden teams with sheep sorrel and lamb's quarters.  Thag and Eva harvest sumac shoots in the picture above.  And, although we usually gather them the first week of June, we have noticed the black locust flowers are ready to gather.

Plants we are looking to gather right now include:
  • cattail leaf bases
  • sheep sorrel greens
  • lambs' quarter greens
  • sumac shoots
  • wood nettle greens
  • evening primrose shoots
  • milkweed shoots
  • waterleaf buds and stalks
  • burdock roots
  • thistle stalk
  • dock stalk
  • wood sorrel
  • ox-eye daisy greens
  • black locust flowers

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