Monday, November 22, 2010

European Crop 'Mache'

Now that things are cooling down in Florida I want to remind/tell folks about a wonderful, ancient European crop, an edible weed in the Valerian family, that I grew in Denver in VERY early spring when months of snow lay ahead, and here in south Tampa in winter. It has several names....Corn Salad, Mache, and Fetticus come to mind. The tender very nutritious leaves NEED cold weather to be vibrant, so farmers and gardeners in much colder areas east of Tampa where teens are common might find Mache worth trying. Plus it commands quite high prices as it is a true chef's and gourmet salad herb, so it could be a new source of revenue in lean times. Gardeners in snowy climate regions should consider trying it as a winter crop in cold frames, or sowing it in the ground in late summer, then covering the rows with a couple feet of straw JUST as the ground starts to freeze. All winter long just brush away the snow, lift the straw, harvest the tasty brilliant green leaves, and replace the straw just as you would kale as it is remarkably cold hardy! Attached is a pic of it with my hand for scale. John

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