Friday, October 4, 2013

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

This Week at the South Durham Farmers' Market

  • Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission will be at the market.
  • Music by Nolan Smock
  • Education by Katie Rose Levin on identifying and sampling local wild edibles.
  • In season: apples, chard, potatoes, peppers, onions, radishes, turnips and more.

Nature's Buffet
One of the myriad reasons I shop at the farmers’ market is to sustain the connection I have with my local environment. Cooking at home with ingredients harvested from nearby fields reaffirms my relationship with and my reliance on nature (not to mention hardworking farmers).

To connect even more personally with your local environment, you can, of course, grow some of your own food, but if you don’t have the space, you might try your hand at foraging for wild edibles. At the moment, I can only identify an embarrassingly short list of trees and plants. But, eventually, instead of being surrounded by a blur of green, I would like to see with knowledge the scores of plant species I encounter every day--knowing which ones to eat and which are poisonous.

For those willing to put in the time, there are many benefits to foraging. For one, wild edibles are typically higher in beneficial phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals than many of the supermarket fruits and vegetables, which have been artificially selected for sweetness and starchiness. Secondly, by only harvesting the plants when you need them, your foraged ingredients will always be super fresh. Not to mention, harvesting plants from the wild is free and a great way to prepare for the coming zombie apocalypse!

Before you start dressing those wild greens, you will need to learn a thing or two. There are many poisonous look-a-like flowers, berries, greens and mushrooms; be 100% sure that you have properly identified the plant and learn the most common poisonous plants in your area. Also, avoid harvesting from areas that are sprayed with pesticides and herbicides or receive lots of runoff from neighboring hard surfaces.

This Saturday we have Katie Rose Levin, a Natural Resource Manager at Duke University, coming to the market to share her knowledge of local wild edibles. She will bring with her several samples of foraged foods to share with you.

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