At Sharpham, the arrival of spring coincides with the appearance of a prolific plant whose leaves and flowers are particularly fragrant and reminiscent of garlic. This plant, commonly named Wild Garlic or Ramsons, grows abundantly in the undergrowth of old woodland throughout the country and is particularly appreciated by people living at Lower Sharpham Farm.
The surroundings of the farm are particularly prolific in wild garlic, that’s how we came up with the idea of preparing recipes based on the subtle garlic taste it provides, such as pesto sauce. We created a blend that apparently is not so common with the normal wild garlic pesto recipes, but we didn’t want to spend too much money (on nuts/seeds). Also some people are vegan, so we didn’t include the cheese.
Thus we created a very simple but delicious blend of wild garlic, tinned tomatoes, olive oil and seasoning. E voila!
Creating this allowed us to make use of our environment’s potential in terms of food availability and is linked to the zero waste goal that we are developing as part of the farm’s environmental policy.
By filling old glass jars with homemade wild garlic pesto sauce in place of basil, we can then do without the pesto we would have bought in shops. Growing basil is also very resource hungry growing in either huge polytunnels or in hot country’s with lots of food miles.
We discovered that we can also use the leaves, buds and flowers to add flavour to your salads, or other meals that usually taste well with garlic. We did find that the leaves’ taste starts to depreciate as soon as the plant starts flowing, so found it best to harvest it in early Spring. Flowers are already starting to appear by early April here at the farm.
Cooking with wild garlic is an example amongst many others that are pretty easy to implement into our daily life, and which allows us to progressively reconnected with our natural surroundings.
It is however important not to mistake wild garlic with other similar species which are toxic, so as part of our learning journey we researched which plants not to confuse it with, something we’d recommend everyone to do.
We hope you enjoy the wild garlic too!
Written by Daniel Chantrel-Valat, one of our long term volunteers