100 Foot Diet

Winter Survivor: Collard Greens

It’s the ultimate homegrown challenge: eat at least one meal a week, or the majority of your ingredients, from foodstuffs you can find on your own property. No, that doesn’t include the stuff you have in your cupboards that came from Chile. I’m talking about the food you’ve grown, farmed, and the delectables you didn’t even know were edible but are sitting in plain sight, growing right in your lawn, ditch, or woods.

Forager's Quiche

The kids and I are natural foragers. Since that amoebic age when they mostly crawled across the dirt, our little ones have put anything that looks edible in their mouths for a taste. Luckily, that urge to test is still intact. This week it’s been salads made of the weeds we didn’t intend to grow while we were away for 2 months in Nepal — if you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em. And these weeds have been utterly delicious: young dandelion leaves, bitter cress, water cress (okay, that’s in a nearby ditch), plantain, mustard, dock, mint, and stinging nettle. The nettle goes in soups and pestos. Even the potatoes I had thrown in the worm bin hatched new ones (potatoes, not worms) while we were away. Our little homestead just keeps producing in our absence and we’re so very thankful.

These amazing collards have been producing greens for 9 months

The collards and kale kept going, although they’re as leggy as a runway model. And the chickens are laying 10 eggs a day. So, quiche and frittatas are a regular menu item.

Eggs in Dandelions (great quiche combo)

Even the honey bees are offering up some of their excess gold. Amazingly, one hive of ours didn’t even touch their extra super of honey we had stored above their brood. A mouse, of course, got in a partook in the elixir, but we’re planning on harvesting a few frames for ourselves in the next week to enjoy the honey on our homemade zucchini bread. We pulled out the last of our shredded zucchini from the freezer a few days ago.

Shredded Zucchini from the Garden, 8 Months Later

So, for those who’d like to take the challenge, give the 100 foot diet a try. Go forth and search out those oyster mushrooms, maple blossoms (they’re in season now), and arugula that re-seeded itself just down the path. Oh, and I think your canned, dried, or frozen home-grown produce from last summer definitely counts! Explore and live off the fat of your land.