With winter quickly becoming a distant memory, our favourite time of the year is here! Spending time in the forests of the Pacific Northwest during early spring is so therapeutic. The ground is warming up and with it, the trees are beginning to bud and the plants beginning to shoot. The countdown to Spring Greens season has begun, with stinging nettle and wild onion usually being the first harvests of the season.
Thanks to the amount of annual rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, stinging nettle greens grow abundantly here, most densely in areas with a light canopy, disturbed ground or in open meadows. Harvested while in the young growth stage, stinging nettle has an enormous range of health benefits as well as being a tasty alternative to spinach or kale. Some of the benefits include relief for arthritis and kidney problems, boosting the cardiovascular and immune systems as well as skincare.
Still fighting that cold or flu? Make yourself a nice hot nettle tea, or simply boil or steam some fresh nettle greens for 5 minutes and serve with butter and salt!
Our second early spring harvest is wild onion. Belonging to the lily family, wild onion is found across North America in several varieties. Our local variety is Allium validum (aka the Pacific onion). Wild onion will grow in most areas with lots of sun and moisture, however it generally requires soil with good drainage to flourish. With the strong, distinctive oniony aroma, you’ll know it when you find it!
We enjoy harvesting and cooking with this plant because it blows its cultivated version out of the water, there’s simply no comparison. Wild onion is known to be good for your heart; regulating blood pressure, increasing circulation and lowering cholesterol. It also acts as an immune-booster and an anti-inflammatory. Wild onion soup on a chilly March evening? Yes please!
Fresh stinging nettle and wild onion are available now from both our locations, orders can be placed online or through our offices in Vancouver, B.C. or Portland, Oregon. Later in the season we will be showcasing our full line of locally harvested wild greens, including fiddleheads, maple blossoms, elderflower, miner’s lettuce, fennel, and more! Feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have; identification, meal inspiration or to share a story of foraging in the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest!
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