Star attraction on the table was our community toss-it-in 24 green leaf salad (see list below), some from our vegetable patches and others gathered from our local lanes). More chickweed went into the omelette and we were all surprised by the alexander stems which, while no one could accuse them of being like asparagus, were much nicer than any of us remembered.
Afterwards we discussed vegetable oil as one of the key ingredients of the low-carbon larder. We looked at the production of five oils – hemp, olive, sunflower, sesame and rapeseed – finding out the value of cold-pressed, where the seeds were grown, what kind of methods and machines were used to extract them, the myriad medicinal uses of sesame, even finding a solar-powered olive oil company in Italy! We discussed prices, freight, health, fertilisers, human waste . . . the whole complex business of crop growing and all its (mostly) invisible resource and land use. When push comes to shove oils that could be grown here commercially are hemp and rapeseed (now both grown on a small, and expensive scale). Sunflower too at a pinch. We’re going to miss those olives! Charlotte Du Cann
Some of our 24 Leaves of Spring: rainbow chard, parsley, fennel, ground ivy, sorrel, rocket, endive, sage, purslane, landcress, tansy, mugwort, chives, parsley, lovage, dill, alexander, bittercres, salad burnet, dandelion, hawthorn, jack-in-the-hedge, chickweed, cleavers, plus violets and primroses.