Last week I highlighted a producer many people forget...their own hands. Another forgotten source of local foods include plants in public areas. Three mulberry trees grow on city property near our house. Chris and I walked to them Sunday evening, armed with a sheet and a bucket. The trees are providing...and in abundance. We shook the branches of one tree, and watched the black berries fall onto our sheet (it now has major stains which were well worth it). Our efforts produced a full bucket of fresh mulberries we used in our oatmeal, a pie (recipe here) and to freeze for a less abundant season when we have a mulberry pie craving. I may even try drying some after our next "gather." On a spring walk a few years ago I was ecstatic to find these trees, and we head for them every year around this time.
Apples: Last summer, I noticed a neighbor three blocks from my house with two apple trees full of fruit falling to the ground and rotting. Obviously she wasn't using them, or able to use them all, so I knocked on the door and asked if I could pick some. She kindly said "yes" from behind a locked screen door, this is Wichita after all, and I took home a bag full of crisp, incredibly tasty apples. Yes, it takes some guts to knock on a stranger's door, but as Chris always says, "it's free to ask." For me, it was well worth the payoff.
This year be on the lookout for local food sources near your home, on public property, or from a neighbor that might share if you ask. Now, who said eating fresh and local is expensive?
Saturday's Farmers' Market Feature: At 9 a.m. be sure to check out the Chef's Table at the Old Town Farmers' Market (1st Street and Mosley). Chef David Wirebaugh, the executive chef at the Harvest Kitchen & Bar in Wichita, will be presenting. His restaurant is focused on serving local/seasonal foods in the Downtown Hyatt.