Sunday, April 15, 2012

Stinging Nettle Festival

We went to the stinging nettle festival at Alderlea Farm in Cowichan yesterday. 


Alderlea is a beautiful, community (CSA) farm where bio-dynamic & organic food is grown. Shareholders purchase a share in the season's harvest & receive approx. 24 weeks of farm grown produce each year. A relatively new farm, in their 7th year, they have been increasing their farm production by 30 percent each year.  That's about 200 families supporting the farm. 






 

 
 In the farm cafe.
 Stinging nettle fruit pie.
Brad & I got the stinging nettle pizza.
 John ordered the stinging nettle soup. Both were delicious.
 J.C. & Gordon strumming some tunes.
 Heading down to the forests edge to find fresh stinging nettles.
 Eric Whitehead, owner of Untamed Feast, hosted the walk & talk 
about the nettles, its uses, benefits & how to find & harvest it.
Eric & a few others in the group braved eating it raw. 
YES, it does sting the mouth. Brad tried it...John and I passed. 
I can't imagine changing my mind on that decision.
 Who knew that there were so many benefits & uses for nettles?
You can do lots more than just walk through a patch of it & get stung!
Stinging nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat 
painful muscles & joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, anemia, 
hay fever & enlarged prostate to name a few.
Stinging nettle is available in many forms other than fresh: 
as a tea, dried leaf, extracts, capsules, tablets, creams and as a tincture.
Always do your research before trying wild plant foraging & make sure 
to know about possible side affects & interactions with other prescriptions
you may be taking. For myself, I think that I will stick to the occasional 
homemade nettles soup & dry some of the leaves for future use in cooking.
You'd need around 30 lbs of fresh stinging nettles to make this 
2 lb bag of dried nettles.  That's a lot of work!
I am glad that we went to the nettles festival. I learned a lot & feel more 
confident to embrace, rather than hate this wild plant growing in my yard.
My next plan is to experiment with a savoury stinging nettle jelly.
If it's a success, you'll be sure to see it at the farmers market this year.


To participate in Alderlea Farm's CSA & get a share of fresh, bio-dynamic produce, click on this link & sign up today!



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