Feeling Enriched, Body, Soul and Mind – Benefits of sharing homegrown and crafted bounty
You know how when kids get so excited about something that they can hardly contain it? They need to bounce and smile ear to ear? That was me this morning…before, during and after the garden share we attended.
Our backyard chickens have been very productive the last few weeks with some nice weather and we’ve found ourselves looking for good homes to give our precious eggs too. My husband suggested we see if we can swap some extra eggs for other homegrown things. Brilliant! I posted to a couple local food groups asking if they knew about sites where we could post what we had to swap with other locals. Someone reminded me that the Garden Share hosted at Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center in Palo Alto is monthly, and it happened to be the upcoming weekend! Perfect!!
Meanwhile another woman replied willing to swap eggs for fresh local honey and honeycomb from a beekeeper friend – um…yes please! And she kindly said she’d be at the garden share on Sunday as well!
This morning we gathered up a dozen eggs in packs of 4 (better portions for swapping) and some bay leaves to contribute to the share. Our remaining 7 eggs went in another carton as a first installment on our honey swap.
As with most things, we were on the early side but soon enough people started rolling in carrying baskets and bags of amazing produce to share. We were part of something special. People, strangers nonetheless, bringing the fruits of their labors to share with each other. No money, no haggling. Everyone added what they brought to the tables, chatted away with each other catching up with friends and making new ones, and selected some of something from the tables to take home. It was wonderful. It was refreshing.
One of the first women to arrive brought a large container full of lush, green round leaves with delicate flowers in their center. We’d never seen anything like it. She kindly told us about the weed, minor’s lettuce, which grows wild with a short season here and makes a wonderful addition to salads. I gently pulled a leaf out and broke it up to share with my husband and daughter. It was delicious with a lovely texture. We immediately knew we’d have to take some home for dinner later. Sofie enjoyed it so much that she ate 2 more leaves, flowers included, before we left! A little while later another woman showed up with her arms full of mache – another salad green we love! Some of it joined the miner’s lettuce in our bag.
My honey woman arrived and presented us with a large chunk of beautiful, intricate honeycomb and a 3-4 pounds jar of delicious luscious honey!! Yes, my giddiness was getting harder and harder to contain. I take honey in my tea every day and end up going through it rather quickly. This large jar of honey which I knew was just poured out of a hive a mere 3 days ago was like gold to me. And the honeycomb! Gorgeous! We’ve never had honeycomb before and were excited to try…if we could bring ourselves to cut into it – almost too pretty to consume. She had advised me that it is best enjoyed fresh and that was our plan, with our friends sure to benefit.
She also offered us some of her 43 year old mother to use to turn leftover red wine into amazing red wine vinegar. Could this get any better? Never something we thought about trying to make ourselves, but how could we pass up this opportunity! As instructed we brought a small jar with some leftover red wine. She showed us her jar with the mother and gave us some instructions on what to do. We plunked a piece in our container…the beginnings of our very own red wine vinegar!!
We headed out soon after that exchange as it was a little chilly. After a stop for lunch and some errands, we came home and I poured the red wine and mother into a half liter Weck jar, attached a paper towel to the opening with a rubber band and put it in a dark spot to brew. So exciting!! Now I need to look up what to do next, with all of my delight I didn’t quite catch all of the details she conveyed about making the vinegar and caring for the mother. A little internet research will fix that. I am SO looking forward to when we’ll have some vinegar to try!
And the fun doesn’t end there! We have plans to swap a dozen eggs for some homemade strawberry jam this coming Saturday and discussions for further swaps. This is so much fun. Our dear chickens have enriched our lives in yet one more dimension. Thank you girls.