Resident Raw Foodie,’ Afke Zonderland shares how easy it is to live a whole-food philosophy and make the healthiest choices for yourself and your family. Her strategies and recipes are sure to provide you with plenty of food for thought! A shining star within the gluten-free and health conscious community in British Columbia and beyond, Afke is a Raw Food Chef and Co-Founder of Okanagan Rawsome.
A lawn is a lawn is a lawn. It’s that green space of monoculture that you mow and water each week that provides you with grass clippings for the compost heap and needs an early spring treatment of weed and seed.
Has the time come to break with the North American suburban tradition of grassy front yards? Do you want to mow less, eat better and save money? Are you creative and brave enough to grow food for your family and perhaps have enough to share with passersby?
Some communities are dotted with front yards that are not only a creative feast for the eye, but also your palate. It is going to take planning and a bit of digging or building, but who says that you can’t start out small, like so:
- two raised beds and one trellis against the sunny side of the house for a row of tomatoes plants or runner beans?
- plant parsley and different coloured lettuces in groupings or as a border around your flower beds.
- spend less money on annuals and plant ever bearing strawberries in large pots.
- decorative artichoke in the centre with its spiky leaves and edible blossom looks very elegant.
Be sure to check out “hugulkultur” (Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture) if you are planning a raised bed. One of the prettiest raised beds is that of a spiral. You can make these with bricks, field stone or buy landscaping rock and make them as big, small or tall as your landscape permits. The stone is a good heat conductor for the soil and facilitates early harvest of tender spring lettuces of different colours, shapes and tastes. A small spiral that is about 3 feet tall works well for your herb garden. Herbs like rosemary, chives and thyme blossom when left to grow and if that is not enough to satisfy your need for colour you can add nasturtium or violets that will brighten up a salad as well as your front yard.
Rainwater harvesting is an idea that is becoming increasingly beneficial as draught conditions and water restrictions come into play. Capturing water from your drain pipes or driveway run off is an important step in your planning. The principal behind rain gardens is simply creating a shallow ditch that holds the water long enough to trickle down to the roots of an adjacent vegetable patch. You can fill the basin with chips for low maintenance.
I found a treasure of information on the website www.eartheasy.com and have enjoyed reading: “Edible Landscaping by Michael Judd. The chapter in his book on growing specialty mushrooms like shitake and oyster did get my imagination running wild. We have a shady forest of tall cedars and hemlock behind our house and I am a BIG fan of Fungi. The website www.fieldforest.net will supply you with the spores or myecelium that is needed for your mushrooms of choice. I love their claim: “Proud to be part of this rotting world.” Now, if I could find a neighbour that is more retired than I am, the principal of shared gardening and community building could be applied….
Foliage = Food
Finally, don’t forget how delicious and nutritious blueberries are and the bright fall foliage it would give the edge of your property. That is if you have not already planted raspberry canes along your fence. (This is an area where you could apply your rain harvesting skills.) All this talk about berries has put me in the mood for this week’s recipe.
- 4 cups of frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats [pure, gluten-free]
- 2 tablespoons flour [gluten-free thickener i.e. arrowroot, cornstarch, potato starch …]
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place berries in 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Allow blueberries to partially thaw out. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons brown sugar and cinnamon; stir to blend. Let stand until sugar dissolves and coats berries. Stir oats, flour, salt, and remaining brown sugar to blend in medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with fingertips or fork until moist clumps form. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over blueberries. Bake crisp until berries are bubbling and topping is golden, about 35 minutes.
Serve warm, each serving topped with a spoonful of frozen yogurt!
Also by Afke:
• Looking for Natural Relief from Allergies?
• Confused about Omegas?
• The Skinny on Fat
• Planting Gluten-Free Seeds for Your New Year’s Resolutions
• Almond Milk – Is it Everything It’s Cracked Up to Be?
• Is Kombucha Making a Comeback?
• View Afke’s Recipe Page
Afke Zonderland and Co-Founder/daughter Anna, have turned Okanagan apples and carrots into a made-in-BC success story. They’ve mastered mixing what farmer’s grow in the Interior with carefully sourced spices and sprouted seeds, nuts and fruit. The tincture of time + low temperature results in convenient, portable power-packed crisps in four flavors! Great gluten-free fuel for the health conscious, celiacs and athletes alike! Watch the video!
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