After a long hiatus from the blog, we’re excited to report some new developments at Crow Forest Farm. Thanks for keeping in touch! On Saturday, June 7th, we had an awesome “Wild Food Foraging and Korean Cooking workshop” led by my dear friends KD Palwole Jang and Roy Kim. During this fun filled evening, KD, a certified acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and Korean Medicinal Healer took us for a stroll through the woods to discover nature’s wild abundance growing all around us.
We began the afternoon with a short round of introductions and a 20-minute presentation by KD about the “Five Elements Theory” of Korean cooking. She described the kinds of foods that our bodies crave when we need certain kinds of healing, and what kinds of foods can balance our energy. The astute observation of one of our ~20 participants was that it made sense to eat food in season.
We then took an hour and a half walk-about over Crow Forest Farm, learning how to identify different edible plants in the wild. We learned that wild edibles grow best on the edges of forests and in places that are rebounding from disturbances. Our first great discoveries were wild mustard greens and lamb’s quarters (wild spinach). Both of these plants are growing in abundance in an area where the invasive “Tree of Heaven” has been cut down. Tree of Heaven is an allelopathic invasive plant that sends out hormones into the soil that prevent other plants from growing around it and competing for nutrients. It was interesting to observe that only these strong, wild edibles were growing in areas where nothing else could.
We learned that the best way to harvest lamb’s quarters is from the top, so we could get the most tender leaves and could allow the plant to continue to produce food. The food made a delicious sautée with Korean Chile paste!
Next, we harvested mulberries from our five mulberry trees! We learned that the smartest way to harvest them is by putting a bed sheet underneath the tree and shaking it. Mulberries can be eaten fresh or fermented to create mulberry wine or condiments.
We then discovered bush cherry, sour cherries, and blueberries growing on the edge of the forest. We also had jerusalem artichoke, or “pig potato” poking out of the weeds.
Around the autumn olive, we found beautiful honeysuckle blossoms that we collected to make a relaxing tea!
We then continued deeper into the woods, where we found “To boong young” growing around wild rose and paw paw trees. The new growth on the wild rose and To boong young can added to salads. We also found wild garlic growing among the ferns in the paw paw grove.
We then went to the edge of the forest, where Roy made Parakh dig up a bunch of burdock root. This edible is particularly nutritious because its taproot absorbs minerals from deep within the earth and then brings them up to the earth’s surface. For this same reason, it makes an excellent “chop and drop” mulch fertilizer.
We also discovered some delicacies such as pokeweed and milkweed, which we could not harvest this season but could harvest next season. Pokeweed makes a delicious cooked vegetable when it is young and immature. Once it matures, it becomes highly toxic. Hence our appreciation for expert guides like KD and Roy.
After identifying different edible plants, we then broke up into harvesting groups. People harvested as much of their assigned plant as possible and brought them in paper bags to our outdoor washing station near the spiral garden.
Once the harvest had been double-checked and cleaned, it was taken to the kitchen! We prepared Bimbim bop, Kimbim bop (Which is the Korean precursor to sushi) real miso soup, and kimchi. We ate a feast and had a toast of fermented ginger wine with mottled speramint leaves and sugar. Life doesn’t get much better than this!
Deep thanks must first go to KD Lee and Roy Kim for driving all the way from Chapel Hill to lead us through this workshop today. Thank you to Nouri El Mekharam for coordinating the carpool and Junior Beauvais and Elliot Crookshank for helping prepare the barn for the workshop. Thanks to Adam K. Ernest for his photos and Maureen McGonagle for being an awesome co-host! Love and thanks to all! -CZ
Please join us on Saturday, June 21st for Ivana Kupala- a Ukrainian Summer Solstice Celebration! Ivana Kupala is an ancient Ukrainian holiday celebrating the two elements that created the world: water and fire. Traditionally, virgins, lovers, and crones gather on the summer solstice to seek the Tsvit Paparot (the mystical fern flower) on the shortest night of the year. Maidens make wreaths to toss in the stream to be found by their future lovers. Crones tell your fortune over wax and water. Minstrels sing. At midnight, couples test their faith with a leap over the kupala vatra, the bonfire, to affirm their commitment to each other.
Dress as your favorite nymph, god, or traditional costume. Bring instruments, snacks, beverages and a sense of adventure. Live music and fire dances from Orbit Eyes, Sovereign Goblin and George Hardebeck.