Recently Lynn and Marvin Fast of Red Barn Lavender gave me some ground cherries from their garden to try cooking. Marvin explained that ground cherries will never be a commercial money-maker because harvesting them is very labor intensive, but they are delicious to eat nevertheless. Why not grow some yourself? As you do more locavore eating (eating only locally grown food), sooner or later you’ll be motivated to do a little home gardening. I’d like to encourage you to give it a try. Fall is a good time to start planning for next year.
Growing ground cherries would be a good place to start. Because they usually grow only 1-3 feet high, they can be planted in a large pot on a deck or porch, or in a sunny area beside your house. Tomatoes, basil, greens and lettuces all grow well in pots or planter boxes, too. Pick your favorites!
If you’d like to start a small garden plot, there are two books I highly recommend. The first is called The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. Deppe describes how to grow a garden that will produce results no matter what. Her techniques and plant varieties are resistant to extremes of temperature and precipitation, can tolerate lack of care for a few weeks, and can help get you and your family through difficult economic times. The second book I’d suggest is Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon. Solomon’s book tells how to develop healthy soil organically, and why that’s important. He also has specific advice for growing most types of fruits and vegetables common in our area.
You can buy ground cherry seeds (and other hard to find organic and heirloom varieties) from local seed company, Uprising Seeds.
This bread recipe may look fairly dense, similar to banana bread or other fruit breads, but the flavor is light and delicious.
Also included in this recipe is fresh local ginger! The Bellingham Farmers Market was all abuzz when Terra Verde Farm brought in beautiful ginger roots they’d grown. Wonderful and delicious!
- ⅓ cup honey (Guilmette's Busy Bees, Bellingham)
- 1 cup milk (Edaleen Dairy, Lynden)
- 1 egg (Red Barn Lavender, Ferndale)
- ½ cup butter, melted (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
- 2 cups flour (Fairhaven Organic Mills, Burlington)
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated (Terra Verde, Everson)
- 1 cup mashed ground cherries (friend's garden, Ferndale)
- Optional: dollops of yogurt cheese or quark for serving
- Mix together milk, honey, egg, and melted butter. Add in ginger and flour.
- Peel the outer papery husk from the ground cherries and mash them slightly (enough to break the cherries open). Mix into the batter.
- Bake in buttered loaf pan for about 45 minutes. Bread is done when a toothpick comes out clean. The texture will be smooth and dense.