Weeds: Food for the Intrepid Forager
By Faye Sakellaridis
When Mark Bittman went foraging for edible weeds in California, he found the sidewalks brimming with them. Not only do they grow in abundance — a lot of them also happen to be delicious.
In the first of the California Matter video series, produced by NY Times and the Global Food Initiative, Bittman samples a variety of flavorful weeds growing in plain sight on the sidewalks of Oakland, CA. As long as they’re washed, the weeds are safe to eat, and good for you too.
Later in the video, Bittman speaks with Bob Cannard, who he calls a “real trailblazer in the world of cultivated weeds,” about the integral role weeds play in farming.
There’s “no downside” to weeds, says Bittman, explaining their benefits in this NY Times article:
Think, for a second, of the advantages: They’re organic. (They may be soiled by whatever happens on the street, but they’re not intentionally doused with chemicals.) They require no cultivation, no care, and they’re drought- (and for that matter flood-) tolerant, or you wouldn’t find them. And many of them are nutritionally superior to their tamed counterparts.
They’re also free for the intrepid forager. And as more farmers follow Bob Cannard’s lead (watch him in the video) and recognize that not only can wild edibles be sold at markets and to restaurants, they’re essential in maintaining soil health (and in reducing the use of herbicides; after all, if you are going to harvest them, you’re not going to spray to kill them), they’ll become more widely available to the not-so-intrepid. There is simply no downside here.
Read the full article here.