My brother growls at his wife for eating weeds. I
remember eating those weeds myself as a child. They
are clover-like with tiny yellow blossoms and a
delightful sour flavor. Iíve never found their like
for sale in a supermarket. Why my brother has such a
fit over the weeds is beyond me. All the leafy greens
now used to make a salad were at one time considered
weeds. The sour clovers are too small for commercial
use so they have remained "weeds."
Of course there is a large weed that pretty much
matches the yellow blossomed clover for sour flavor:
sorrel, French and Garden!
I was introduced to the herb sorrel a couple of
years ago when I stopped at "Willow Pond
Farm" near Fairfield, Pa. Weíd been by the farm
a dozen times on our snack trips to the mart in
Fairfield. Wanda was interested in what had been done
to the farm because sheíd gone to school with people
who used to live there. I was intrigued by the flower
beds and the inconspicuous sign claiming the farm was
"CLOSED." When the sign wasnít there, was
it "OPEN"? I had to find out. Low-key, nice
flowers, time to stop.
We didnít plan on a tour of the farm, but we got
one! Edible flower bed, medicinal flower bed, Biblical
plant bed, perennials, biennials and annuals. Most of
the plantings were herbal, though there were some for
just plain fun.
We were encouraged to taste all the culinary herbs,
and the sorrel instantly brought to mind the flavor of
sour clover. We bought a French and a Garden. The
French has since been pulled up and composted. It didnít
agree with my tongue or stomach. The Garden sorrel has
become a friend though.
I pulled and washed several large leaves, and
wrapped grilled hamburgers with them. They werenít
bad without salt and mustard, a combination I love,
but fear Doc Curley will someday suggest I leave be.
So sorrel is being cultivated to replace the salt. The
sorrel went well with ham sandwiches too.
This year we stopped to see what was new. I guess
itís a pergola, easily seen from the road. Various
vines (grapes to roses) are planted along its length.
Within its shade benches await the winded explorer. I
plan to visit more often as the vines grow. The
contraption impressed me.
In fact, the whole farm impresses me. Many of the
plants Iíve admired in seed catalogs are growing
well into their 3rd year, or longer. I get to see the
plant up close! Do I have room for it? What insects
bother it? How does it taste? How does it look
alongside other plants? How much trouble is it? Does
it spread, re-seed, or die out after a couple of
While questions about plant habits were coming to
mind, their uses in the kitchen were considered. I
needed something for a duck. We bought a pot of
rosemary and another of thyme. I couldnít get it
fresher except from my own garden, which I can do now.
Willow Pond Farm has many points of interest that I
wonít mention because I havenít explored them
myself. Exploration by the Internet begins at:
www.willowpondherbs.com/ but walking the farm is
the only real way to enjoy the place and people that
make Willow Pond Farm interesting.
Give them a call at 717-642-6387, and find out when
you can explore. The farm sure beats the mall and you
might find a "weed" that captures your taste