Bega Valley Seed Savers focus on overlooked winter greens

Winter green-thumbed: Tjenka Murray, Linda McMurray and Sandra Gauld at the SCPA Markets Seed Savers display in Littleton Gardens. Photo supplied: Julie Davis.

Winter green-thumbed: Tjenka Murray, Linda McMurray and Sandra Gauld at the SCPA Markets Seed Savers display in Littleton Gardens. Photo supplied: Julie Davis.

The Bega Valley Seed Savers are hosting a stall at the Bega SCPA markets to introduce the community to the undiscovered or overlooked green gems in their gardens. 

On Friday, September 1, the group will display a selection of edible species in the hopes of expanding the range of edible greens that are grown in gardens across the Bega Valley.

Julie Davis will be at the stall from 9am to 12pm. She said  the morning was about busting the myths that surround backyard farming during the cooler months of the year. 

“Often this time of year is thought of as a lean time for vegetable gardens, that there are not many options to grow,” she said. 

“But it’s really not the case, if you plan things out right you can end up with heaps of edible plants all year round.”

She hopes that the information stall will help to fill empty garden beds during winter, even if it’s with vegetables people wouldn’t think of planting now.

“Take lettuce for example, most people think it is a summer vegetable, but it’s actually a winter vegetable,” she said. 

The display will include old-fashioned and uncommon vegetables, such as chicory, corn salad, endive, lambs lettuce, orache, radicchio and sorrel, to bring a new and unexpected twist to regular recipes. 

Ideas on how best to prepare and eat each variety will be shared, whether it be for stirfries, juicing, baking or salads.

“All of these things let you build a really tasty winter salad, so it’s just about sharing that potential,” Ms Davis said.

“It’s handy to have them of show, because people may have seen these plants growing, but were never aware that they were edible species,”

Ms Davis said many flower species are overlooked as cooking ingredients too.

The petals of the Calendula flower can bring a splash of colour to a dish, as can the flowers and leaves of a Nasturtium. Chef Martha Stewart has even designed a recipe for Nasturtium pesto. 

“The average back yard contains about 20 different plants that can be used for cooking in the kitchen,” Ms Davis said.

Seed Savers has invited the public to share their favourite backyard ingredients with the group, and find out where they can swap a trip to the grocery store with a quick rummage in the back yard. 

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