Week 3 - The Flower of Youth
Dear Spoon Full Family,
(This week's box is wonderful. Scroll down to see the full list of veggies, and a few exclusive recipes. In the meantime, humor my plant passion for yarrow in the next few paragraphs.)
Picking a favorite plant is like picking a favorite flavor, or a favorite song, or a favorite Beatle: Impossible for some people, and extremely easy for others. I've asked many folks who really (really really) love plants (we at Spoon Full are moderate by comparison) to choose a favorite, and I've been surprised by how many of them choose the same plant.
At a Biodynamic agriculture conference a few years ago, I attended a lecture about organic orchard fruit, presented by a very old man. Flashing a smile as white as his thick hair, he showed us photos of luscious apples, thick tree trunks, and of himself, ancient, leaning from a ladder with a pair of pruning shears. Somebody asked him: how did he stay so active, working his orchard, so late in his life?
The old man smiled conspiratorially and leaned forward. In a low voice he said: "My secret? Every day, I drink a big cup of yarrow tea. It keeps me young."
Yarrow's latin name is "Achillea millefolium," which one could translate as "many-leafed Achilles." Greek myths tell that swift Achilles carried a pouch of yarrow seed wherever he went, scattering them on the wind, in case he came back that way again. He did this because yarrow leaves can save your life. When crushed until they exude a green juice and pressed on an open wound, yarrow kills bacteria and causes blood to swiftly clot, staunching bleeding.
So get to know this plant, and if you ever cut yourself out in nature, find the nearest yarrow, squish it up, and press it on the wound. It won't be hard to find: yarrow grows all over the temperate world. I've found yarrow growing on rain-washed seaside cliffs in Oregon, at 8,000 feet in the Cascade mountains, and shooting up between cracks in the sidewalk in Seattle and Portland. It grows ALL OVER THE PLACE out here in the high desert at Spoon Full Farm.
Yarrow was traditionally used for divination with the ancient Chinese Book of Change. When its bitter young leaves are eaten, it stimulates digestion and cleanses the kidneys. When its flowers are steeped as tea, it has these same effects, and also aids in circulation. Isn't that wild - applied externally, it stops bleeding, yet drank as tea, is stimulates circulation? What an amazing creature.
After spending some time out in a sunny meadow picking yarrow flowers to dry as tea, I've come to consider it (her?) my favorite plant, too. May we all emulate its adaptable resilience and its generous blessings.
Steep each yarrow tea bag in about 1 quart of fresh-boiled water, for 5-10 minutes. The water will turn a beautiful bright green, and taste a bit bitter (it's good medicine!).
Without further delay, here is the full roster for this week's CSA boxes (bold items in Whole boxes only):
- Garlic Scapes
- Encore Lettuce Mix
- Red Russian Kale
- Yarrow tea (2 bags) - Steep each bag in ~1 quart fresh-boiled water for 10 minutes.
And here are some wonderful recipes from our very own Geoffrey Van. Please let us know how they work and taste for you!
See you soon! Enjoy everything.
Mericos and all the other farmers at Spoon Full Farm