|our guide, and her mom|
Here in this weed-choked field grows Verdolagas or purslane, a common weed that's happy growing in extreme heat, sporadic flooding, and bad soils--so ubiquitous that we don't even see it except when it has a price tag at the local farmer's market.
|Ingredients for life is right!|
But when a fire drill brought families from the FRC out to playground, one mom recognized a good thing when she saw it. Her spicy soup brought in the next day prompted us all to head right back out there again to gather some more.
|Arizona Poppies in the foreground.|
We packed up the kids, some grocery sacks, and a hand trowel for good measure and off we went on an adventure--to the site of our future Outdoor Classroom.
|You're always properly dressed to enjoy the out-of-doors.|
We returned to the A/C with five full sacks and some work to do, the moms in a spirited debate on the best way to prepare them. Too bad the next day was Saturday and the center closed, otherwise we might have had ourselves a purslane cook-off.
|Can you make a list of all the skills, words, and concepts she has learned in harvesting verdolagas?|
Now back to our scholars, who in Arizona depend on hands-on and traditional knowledge as much or more than research buildings. Gary Nabhan writes in in Gathering the Desert, Summer season greens such as amaranth (quelite), lambsquarter (chual), and purslane (verdolaga) "filled critical gaps in the diet of historic Papago." Verdolagas are also listed in Wendy Hodgson's, Food Plants of the Sonoran Desert, as an important edible green high in vitamin C, enjoyed raw or cooked with tomatoes and onions. The FRC moms will tell you to add, " a little Knorr chicken broth--it goes on everything."
So eat your heart out at the juncture of Nature, Society, and Food.