To celebrate our good friends’ Jurgen Wegter and Ingvild Haga’s 50th birthdays together with Meg’s 50-year anniversary of arriving in Europe for the first time (in Southampton near where I lived at the time) as well as my 50 year anniversary of leaving school and a memorable holiday with 20-30 school friends in Newton Ferrers in Devon, we made a special gourmet dinner of green mac-cheese. It had masses of veg mixed in – the year’s first broad beans and swiss chard, chicory, common sow thistle (Sonchus oleraceus), Allium senescens leaves, shallots and garlic from last year, rehydrated winter chantarelles, golpar – ground seed of hogweed – Heracleum spp., together with ramsons salt, chili, sun dried tomatoes and mustard, all in a wholegrain spelt white sauce with wholegrain spelt pasta; it was topped with alpine bistort bulbils). Not to be left out, the Extreme Salad Man contributed one of his Meditteranean diet inspired multispecies salads commemorating it is now almost 20 years since he put together a salad from home grown ingredients in Malvik comprising 537 ingredients. something the world hasn’t seen before or since (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=18997). The record was set on 24th August 2003. This time there were a mere 106 ingredients….sad to see, but he must be losing it…. Thanks to Jurgen for the salad pictures:
I remember years ago ordering seed of a special heirloom heritage radish “rat’s tail” (Raphanus sativus var caudatus) through the Heritage Seed Library in the UK. I remember that it was the gardener at naturalist Gilbert White’s House and Gardens at Selbourne in Hampshire that offered the seed and I remember that we ended up trading seed as they were looking for plants that Gilbert White mentioned; see https://gilbertwhiteshouse.org.uk/gilberts-gardens The resultant plants had long green pods. However, I lost them eventually. Subsequently I’ve tried seed of rat’s tails several times and the pods have never been as long as those original plants. Radishes are difficult to grow here in spring as our long days result in them quickly bolting (still looking for a good day neutral variety). I remember reading that when wild radish Raphanus sativus was originally domesticated in China that it was for the young seed pods rather than the swollen tap roots. I therefore decided this winter to source various rat’s tail radishes from commercial sources and also obtained seed of 4 (of 8 available) accessions from the German genebank IPK Gatersleben. There was no available descriptons, so this was a random selection. They were sown in May in the World Garden (Verdenshagen) at the Væres Venner Community Garden (NB! I do grow a few annuals on the world garden if they have an interesting geographical story associated). Yesterday I harvested a few of each and was blown away by the diversity with long red, thin green and two more stumpy varieties like I had been getting in recent years when ordering rat’s tails. Below is what Cornucopia II says on this interesting vegetable. Assuming like me that you will want to grow your radishes to seed for the following year, the land is occupied all season in any case, so rat’s tails produce more than root radishes. The flowers are also also rather pretty bicoloured pink and white and area also attractive to pollinators! I think I will save seed and deveop a mixed grex of these and more varieties from the gene bank next year! And this gave the opportunity for a unique rat’s tail salad for lunch with radish flowering tops too, also delicious (see the pictures at the bottom) :)
Being the focus of an art installation wasn’t something I ever imagined, but since February an installation has been exhibited at the Trondheim Art Museum Gråmølna based on my January winter vegetables and very nicely put together it was too, by a group of international artists working on the Meatigation (get it?) project through the MOREMEATLESSMEAT exhibition. This was designed to stimulate debate on why it is difficult to get Norwegians to reduce their meat consumption in the face of climate change. They visited me in January filmed me harvesting in the cellar, in the living rooms and outside and took away about 30 of my winter vegetables that were then scanned and exhibited with narrative provided by yours truly: JANUARY HERBARIUM For those that don’t know me, I am more or less 100% self-sufficient in vegetables and fruit all year round without using a greenhouse, additional heating or light (we use far less heating than most) and not owning a freezer.
Last Sunday (30th April 2023) between 14 and 16 the closing event focussed on the myth that one cannot avoid importing vegetables in winter here in Norway through the UNPACKING THE EDIMENTALS HERBARIUM event. It was fittingly also the #internationaldayofthedandelion a plant I eat most days year round (forced from roots in winter in my cellar and living rooms). To accentuate that vegetable diversity is possible even in cold Norway in winter, with snow showers outside the venue, at a time of year known as the Hungry Gap (I call it the Full Gap as it really can be the time of greatest abundance!) I (#extremesaladman) prepared my most diverse winter/spring salad ever (and probably anywhere) with 163 botanical species, 199 different plants (including cultivars) and in total 211 ingredients (includes different plant parts, such as flowers and leaves from the same plant). I prepared two different looking salads from the same ingredients! The list of ingredients can be found at the bottom (a list was also hung up on the wall so that the participants could read what they were eating!)
The second salad:
I was asked a series of questions and gave answers supported by various plants I’d brought with me: Allium cernuum (nodding onion / prærieløk) Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde) (both are available most of the winter outside) Allium pskemense x fistulosum (Wietse’s onion / Wietsesløk) Allium stipitatum (Persian shallot / Persisk sjalott) Vicia faba (dried broad beans / bondebønner) Beta vulgaris “Flavescens” (swiss chard / mangold) Angelica archangelica “Vossakvann” (Voss angelica / Vossakvann) Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann – demonstrating dandichokes / løveskokker and dandinoodles / dandinudler)
The questions were: BIODIVERSITY: Why is agricultural biodiversity important? PRESERVATION: Why preserve heritage varieties of edible plants?EMOTION: Why joy, pleasure & humor in food and farming? WINTER: What could we eat in the winter? Preservation & fresh. FUTURE: What could a Norwegian food future taste like if plants were at the center?
There were of course also many questions from the participants about what different plants were in the salads. I mentioned that the salads were originally not just the result of a slightly mad collectomanic’s work in Malvik but also had an important message. My second and still current world record salad was made 20 years ago in August 2003 (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=294). It had been inspired by the Mediterranean diet, where ethnobotanical studies on the back of the discovery of the low levels of cardiovascular disease in people eating traditional diets had revealed a huge diversity of plant species used in the Mediterranean region (over 3,000 species). Not only that, but traditional multi species salads, soups, calzones etc., often with over 50 different species had been discovered – more in my book Around the World in 80 plants). This week just 4 days before the event national broadcaster NRK had published an article once again pointing to the Mediterranean Diet as being the healthiest one! See NRK article.
The previous winter / spring record with 140 ingredients was made for Credo Restaurantat the Kosmorama Film Festival in 2017.
PREPARING THE SALAD ON MY BIRTHDAY The pictures below show me collecting the salad ingredients the day before which was my birthday, what better way of spending the day :)
On the way to the event, waiting at the bus stop with salad and plants as the snow came down!
Pictures from the event (taken by Anne Maisey from TKM Gråmølna):
Many thanks to Liz Dom who lead the event and project leaders Cat Kramer and Zack Denfeld and Anne Maisey from the museum, who took part remotely from Porto in Portugal at the start, for a great collaboration!
I was going to post an album of pictures showing off all the late flowers in the garden this record-breaking mild autumn still without any frost, but as they’re all edible I made a salad instead! There were 33 different edible flowers (see the list below the pictures) plus 30-40 greens and a whopper carrot which I decided to keep whole as a feature! It was cut up when the salad was tossed afterwards. It has a story too as it is one of the Danish accessions rematriated from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) in the US last winter. I took a few seed before sending the rest on to Danish Seed Savers (Dansk Frøsamlerne). It’s called Kämpe which means Giant in Swedish/Danish (I call it Whopper as it’s probably the biggest/thickest carrot I¨’ve grown here). It’s not a very old variety and SSE informed that it was a cultivated variety originally from the Swedish seed company Weibulls. Anyone know more about it? Salad flowers, all harvested from the garden Salvia (blackcurrant sage / solbærsalvie) Fuchsia magellanica Hemerocallis “Stella de Oro” Taraxacum spp. (dandelion / løvetann) Rubus fruticosus (blackberry / bjørnebær) Papaver somniferum (opium poppy / opium valmue) Viola altaicum Campanula persicifolia (peach-leaf bellflower / fagerklokke) Sonchus oleraceus (common sow-thistle / haredylle) Glebionis coronaria (chopsuey greens / kronkrage) (3 varieties) Daucus carota (carrot / gulrot) (unopened flower umbel) Geranium sanguineum (bloody cranesbill / blodstorkenebb) Brassica oleracea (kale / grønnkål) Oenothera biennis (evening primrose / nattlys) Begonia Malva moschata (musk mallow / moskuskattost) (white and pink flowered) Malva alcea (hollyhock mallow / rosekattost) Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot / rørhestemynte) Monarda “Elsie Lavender” Calendula officinalis (pot marigold / ringblomst (2 varieties) Campanula trachelium (nettle-leaved bellflower / nesleklokke) Calamintha nepeta (lesser calamint / liten kalamint) Tropaeolum majus (nasturtium / vanlig blomkarse) (2 varieties) Pisum sativum (garden pea / ert) Origanum spp. (wild marjoram / bergmynte) (2 varieties) Campanula lactiflora Alcea rosea (hollyhock / stokkrose) Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon / geitskjegg)
My dad Harald George Barstow (HGB) sadly passed away on 7th June at 97. A few days later on 11th June I’d scheduled a long-awaited visit from my friend Helene von Bothmer, the Koster Islands Permaculture Queen accompanied by participants on a one day permaculture course on Katy Chada’s farm (I had twice visited Koster but this was Helene’s first Malvik visit). They had asked if I could make a salad for lunch that day, so with my Dad’s loving memory in focus, the salad became a tribute to Dad as well as a welcome to Helene, Katy and the participants. It had exactly 97 ingredients <3 (a list can be found at the bottom of this page)
There’s an H in there (sort of!)
Now some pictures taken during a lovely visit! I hope it isn’t long before our ways cross again Helene!
5 years ago this week, I made a salad with 140 ingredients all harvested locally without using any additional energy than is available in my house and cellar (no greenhouse; no freezer; no fermenting; no plastics involved). This was well planned as I had been asked to provide a salad and other ingredients for a 10-15 course 4 hour dinner at the now Michelin star Credo restaurant in Trondheim in collaboration with the Kosmorama film festival (the main theme was films about food and Michael Pollan’s film in Defense of Food was shown).
The 11 categories of ingredients included in this salad, how it was planned so that everything was available in early March, and the recipe can be read about on my blog here: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=10214
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden