Saturday, April 16, 2011

Find Good Teachers

Jeff Ross talks plants with the Urban Land Scouts at CAC Beardsley Community Farm.

We had a great visitor to last week's workshop, Jeff Ross, the head gardener at Blackberry Farm. Jeff strolled around Beardsley with two dozen eager, note-taking Urban Land Scouts and talked about various edible plants in the landscape, among them: honeysuckle, mahonia (aka: oregon grape holly), dandelions, day lilies, mulberry, wild lettuce, chickweed, wild garlic, yarrow, and on. We concluded the trip with a satisfying round of dropping our various findings into a skillet full of hot oil and sampling things like breaded dandelion heads, flash-fried yarrow leaves, onion flowers and roots.

It makes a real difference to learn about edible plants from someone as knowledgeable as Jeff Ross and it was doubly lucky for all of us that he works at a four-star hotel with famous and inventive chefs. It's hard to get fired up about eating, say dandelion greens, if you don't have a nice recipe for them. One woman asked if frying these wild edibles negated the health benefits of them. For me the point is not the benefit to my body (although I am glad for the vitamins and minerals found in these plants), it is the mental shift that comes with harvesting and consuming in this way. If you'd like to see a copy of notes from the walk, you can email me here (passage - at- urbanlandscouts - dot- com) or check out Kat's post about the workshop. Thanks so much to Jeff Ross for sharing his time and knowledge! 
Jeff Ross talks wild edibles at CAC Beardsley Community Farm.


  1. I really hate I missed this one. Will you ever be doing a wild foraging class again?

  2. Jeff mentioned that he'd like to come back in the summer when different things are in season. I think it would be great if we could schedule a workshop for each season. We'll post information here as things get scheduled.