Thistle is growing all over the field in back of my neighborhood. Thanks to a book I just read, The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, I have learned that these prickly leaves make wonderful juice.
The juice is super simple - just put the leaves in the blender along with some water and vroom. The result is very green and mild.
The field became my own private grocery store this summer. But then the mowers came through. In a few minutes, these foot-high plants were reduced to a stubble.
I was upset, but I still managed to find a few remaining plants along the edges, enough to collect and blend. Then, after a few days, they started growing back.
My neighbors walk their dogs in this field and are curious about what I'm collecting. When I tell them, they are baffled, as if I said I was collecting moon rocks or fairy dust. Even the most health conscious, who buy organic and make smoothies with hemp seed had never heard of anything as weird as eating weeds.
Thistle is not the only weed given the spotlight in The Wild Wisdom of Weeds". The author describes 13 species that are found all over the world. She makes the point that these plants grow just fine in the most unhospitable conditions, are edible and nutritous, and might represent a sustainable food supply. Instead of spending so much time and money trying to eradicate them, in favor of inferior crops, we might be better off harvesting the weeds.
I was impressed with the author's success in not only getting the message out about the value of weeds, but convincing other people to give them a try, or a least let them be.
I'm inspired - maybe one day my field will be full of neighbors foraging for thistle leaves, and maybe the mowers will be long gone. And no one will think I'm strange!