Published on March 2nd, 2014 | by Publisher, Natural Awakenings New Mexico0
March 2014 – Publisher’s Letter
“Spring is independent of our compulsion to manage and direct. It’s beyond our reach.”
Spring is in the air and with it comes rejoicing in nature’s beauties, from our neighborhood backyards to outdoor walkabouts breathing in the wonders.
I love how New Mexico’s unique array of native plants thrives in its dry climate. Moving from Florida’s subtropics I soon learned the need to water yard plants daily here. I am now determined to install an automated system so a little water goes a long way with no waste. As the Native Plant Society of New Mexico recommends, indigenous plants are definitely the way to go (see npsnm.org/education/native-plants).
I have become fascinated by tower gardens I see at area home shows and online that allow even those with a small patio area to grow our own veggies, herbs and lettuce. A complete kit comes with starter plants or seeds and an automated hydroponic watering system that can move indoors in winter. Added benefits include independence from store bought produce shipped long distances, the health and nutrition benefits of toxin-free veggies and the satisfaction of eating food we’ve grown ourselves. The newest trend in aquaponics doubles the fun with an eco friendly way to garden and raise fish as well; it too can be done in a spare room or basement for year-round goodness.
This month’s feature article by Food Sleuth Melinda Hemmelgarn highlights four major fresh food trends. I am particularly fascinated by the concept of foraging, which dates back to ancient hunter-gatherer cultures that relied on daily collecting of nuts, berries, fruits and greens from the land, with the occasional bit of wild meat on the side.
Wild and communal plants can be foraged in our own yard as well as on public lands. By foraging our own greens, we can save money and have fresh, healthy foods available, plus the ritual gathering intimately connects us with nature’s cycles.
New Mexico affords unique forage foods such as piñon nuts, dandelions, stinging nettles, cholla cactus buds, prickly pear cactus, lamb’s quarter and miner’s lettuce. Elderberries, abundant in season, are a healthful bonus. Like blueberries, they are excellent in pancakes and made into jam. It’s best to forage in our region’s mountain slopes and valleys far from agricultural use of pesticides and herbicides and direct pollution from vehicles and industry. A note of caution: In the wild, it’s easy to mistake one thing for something else, so use guidebooks to triple check every plant before eating it (tips at nmwildlife.com).
The recognition of fermented foods as particularly beneficial to digestion these days recalled my own youth in Germany, where family meals were regularly accented by sauerkraut and homemade pickles. Kefir, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, buttermilk are other delicious additions to daily meals.
May our March Food & Garden issue inspire you to get outside, connect with Mother Earth’s bounty and experiment with new foods and powerhouse herbs; we even offer tips for eating gluten-free on the go. It’s a month full of promise.
Good bye winter, hallo spring!
Andrea Williams, Publisher
P.S. Please look for us at the ABQ Home Expo at Lujan Hall A on March 15 and 16.