Nettles to Earth Day

It’s been a busy busy week!

Seven days ago, I started off up a murky old Malahat

to spend the day taking tickets at lovely Fairburn Farm,

home of Vancouver Island’s famous herd of water buffalo,

where Mara Jernigan

and her team presided over a Stinging Nettle Festival.

Farmer John Ehrlich, of Alderlea Farm, talked about the biodynamic farming uses

while Katy Ehrlich talked about medicinal and nutritional aspects of stinging nettles.

Mara gave a demonstration on the making of nettle spanakopita.

Nettle tea was on offer

You could have nettle pesto (and extremely local buffalo mozzarella) on your pizza

or a flowery bowl of nettle soup

or a piece of nettle tart

and end, if you wished, on a piece of rhubarb tart.

Much of the rest of the week was taken up with food preparation and planning for a one-off catering event. On Thursday, Dayle and I celebrated Earth Day and the new municipal cosmetic pesticide ban by providing a pesticide-free lunch to 100 people at Saanich City Hall. We had musical accompaniment

and a good-ish crowd who milled and ate over the lunch hour, checking out the pesticide alternatives information and talking to stall-holders like Glendale Gardens. I was very happy to be able to give a resounding NO to the person who came by to ask if the food being served would be hamburgers?

With the help of Dayle’s versatile farmer Jordan, we served cauliflower-lime soup with cumin,

Michell’s farm hubbard squash soup with ginger and tamarind; accompanied by Wildfire croutons,

raw almond-carrot pâté wraps (wrapped in kale, collard or chard leaves)

and chocolate-beet cupcakes.

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