Monday, March 22, 2010

I Love Weed(s)


The saying goes:  "One man's trash is another man's treasure," well that couldn't be more accurate.

After a long hard day tending to the greenhouse, it was time to let two city boys in on a little secret...The weeds were up for grabs!  This may not seem like such a great thing on the surface, but just because they are weeds doesn't mean they can't be delicious and abnormally large, like this ridiculous...
 Osaka "weed" above.

Just to give some perspective, check out this regular Osaka bed

Look at that first one again!  That Osaka weed is probably 3 or 4 times the size of the Osaka that is usually harvested.

Just like humans, plants want to reproduce...all the time.  When plants grow they produce seeds which may end up in the wrong bed (again, just like humans).  This can occur if the seeds are not removed when the bed is amended, blown over by the wind or one of many other possibilities.  When a new bed is seeded and watered, these weeds will grow right alongside whatever has been purposely planted.  Usually you will see these weeds towards the sides of the beds or on the pathways in-between beds, which makes sense since this is where people walk and can easily kick around a few rogue seeds.
The reason weeds can grow so big is simply because they are not being harvested.  The normal Osaka bed above has already been harvested, controlling its growth.  Every time the Osaka grows to that height, the bed is harvested and sold by the pound.  On the other hand, the Osaka weed has not been harvested and logically, the longer you leave something growing in a fertile, moist, nutritious environment, the larger it will grow.

Once we finished scanning the greenhouse for delicious "trash," we went after our treats.  Matt had been eyeing this guy the whole day and couldn't wait to get home to eat it.
But seriously he clearly did not wait to get home to eat it and just as Santiago the fisherman in "The Old Man and the Sea did," Matt finally found his greatest catch, but unlike that bum fisherman, Matt wasted no time and dove right in to attack.

But then again, I don't blame him.  When it's this fresh, why wait?  

Here we are, two 24 year olds, working finance jobs during the week, running around a greenhouse like 4 year olds, eating weeds straight out of the ground.  I will tell you, nothing has ever felt so right or tasted so fresh.

If you are wondering what that crazy alien looking green in my hands was, it's called Claytonia.  It grows very well in the winter as it thrives in cold temperatures and won't be planted during the spring and summer.  It has a fantastic texture and the stem adds a nice crunch as well.  Claytonia has an almost starchy taste, similar to the Mache.  The flavor doesn't grab you, but the texture is extremely interesting and refreshing which goes very well as an addition to any green salad.

Osaka is another member of the Brassicaceae family (what a surprise, it seems as though every plant we eat is part of the Brassicaceae family).  Osaka has a lettucey texture, but is the most unique, surprising plant I have ever tasted.  It has a spice to it that makes it taste like wasabi peas and it's hard to just eat one leaf.


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