Back home to abundance!

I returned home this afternoon from my 6 city tour of Canada to a beautiful cool day here on the Trondheimsfjord. Spring is further advanced than anywhere I visited in Quebec and Ontario…with many of the early spring flowers now out, blackbirds, robin and chiffchaff singing and an abundance of greens everywhere!

Kamouraska and La société des plantes

Thank you to Charles “Mr. Accordion Pissenlit” Frandelion for asking me over to Saint-Pascal (in the Kamouraska municipality) east of Quebec City and entertaining me with a great day enjoying the nature of his area and visiting the headquarters of La société des plantes, run by the legendary Patrice Fortier​ (, where he works! Patrice was sadly in Italy…we will meet next time!

Centretown United Church and Ottawa snowchokes

Last night, the wonderful folks of Ottawa had what was advertised as “A night with Stephen Barstow”.  A great communicative crowd too and thanks for making my book load considerably lighter! I’ll come back and finish my story sometime soon :)
Last time I was in the city I talked in All Saints Church! Thanks all! Hope to see many more perennials next time!

Fawn lilies and Camas in Victoria

My first day in Victoria and Vancouver Island, BC was a mixed one. As this was probably my only chance I decided to go to the Butchart Gardens, a one hour bus ride outside of Victoria, and rated by some as one of the finest gardens in the world. I didn’t have high expectations, but was disappointed that there were almost no plant labels (apart from the rose collection) and otherwise very few native plants as far as I could see…
The botanical highlight was walking back to my lovely Airbnb room along the 30 min long Songhees coastal path. A interpretive sign  informed of the rare Garry oak (Quercus garryana) ecosystem in which both camas (Camassia), an important Native American food plant, and Fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum) grew alongside Dodecatheon (shooting stars)! A couple of minutes later I saw many fawn lilies in the woods and one emerging flower stalk of Camassia (both leichtlinii and quamash grow here)!
Almost exactly a year ago, I was on the otherside of the Pacific witnessing the mass flowering of katakuri (Erythronium japonicum) in Japan:

Forced blanched Udo Baccalao

Inspired by my visit in the spring to Tokyo’s underground blanching of Udo (Aralia cordata), see, I dug up a couple of roots in the autumn for indoors forcing.  I kept them cold in the cellar until about a month ago and then progressively moving  them first to a cool room at about 10C and then the living room at about 18C when I’m at home  (about the same temperature as down the Udo underground forcing caverns!)
I used them both in salads and also in a mixed vegetable baccalao dish. Baccalao is a Norwegian / Portuguese stew based on dried and salted cod.

Roots dug up in the autumn and planted in a large bucket which was put in my cold cellar for 4 months


Shoots appearing in my living room with another bucket over the top to keep light out! Note the thin white shoots appearing around the edges…this reminds me of the video from Mountain Gardens telling that Udo spreads by rhizomes!
Tasty blanched Udo was used to decorate the salad I made for Credo Restaurant in Trondheim during the Kosmorama festival!
Blanched Udo at the back!






I didn’t use all the shoots and I let two continue to grow and was used this week in a Baccalao dish




Ingredients in the Udo Baccalao dish including odds and ends left in the cellar, forced dandelion (top right), Jerusalem artichokes, Udo, chicories, turnips, Tragopogon, burdock, leeks and carrots


Forced blanched dandelions with flower buds


Assembling the baccalao with Udo on top












Join me for a weekend in Sogn and Hardanger


On my way to Canada, I’m doing a slight detour to Hardanger and Sogn in western Norway where I’m giving a talk for Sogn Jord- og Hagebruksskule  (1700-1900) at Marianne Bakeri & Kafè in Aurdal (free entrance) next Friday 24th March (see also .

I then travel on to Jondal where I’m taking part at a weekend course in small scale organic cultivation at the Hardanger Academy. See the press release below (and at )

Pressemelding frå Hardangerakademiet,  mars 2017

 Interessert i giftfri, trygg og sunn mat, kurs i økologisk dyrking?

Den sjette seminarhelga   i Hardangerakademiets grunnkursserie går 24. – 26. mars. Tema er: ET  LAND – OG HAGEBRUK NÆRMERE NATUREN .

Økologisk dyrking for småskala yrkesdyrking og hagebruk.  

 Kurset har både praktiske tema om jordpleie,   levande og frisk jord, om dyrking av grønsaker, frukt og ber, permanent   hagebruk med fleirårige, spiselege vekster og meir teoretiske tema som   utviklinga av jordbruket historisk og i framtida.

Føredraga omhandlar t.d. biologisk dynamisk   dyrking, organisk biologisk dyrking og økologisk landbruk for framtida,   samanhengar frå jord til bord til helse, landbrukets forhold til klima, miljø, jordliv, insekt, fuglar, mm. og  landbruksutviklinga frå middelalderen til   framtida.

Føredragshaldarar er: Arvid Wold, agronom,   Dan Ente, gartnar, Vidar-Rune Synnevåg, gardbrukar,  Reidun   Pommeresche, siv.agronom og forskar,  Tom Harald   Eckell, økogardbrukar, Stephen Barstow, forskar – og mye anna.

 Dette er det siste helgeseminaret i akademiet sitt grunnkursserie  for undervisningsåret 2016/2017. Til hausten startar ein opp med eit nytt grunnkurs i fred, utvikling og miljø.

Det er mogleg å delta på ein av dagane eller på enkeltføredrag. Påmelding og kontaktinfo ligg på heimesida til Hardangerakademiet og på Facebook.

Gjør denne våren til din beste vår! Start med kurs i økologisk dyrking!

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