Saturday, May 21, 2016

Poking around the farm

I know I promised to tell you about our trip to Portugal and Morocco, but first I wanted to tell you about how much fun we had poking about our farm – and then enjoying a skillet of poke for our dinner.

The farm looks great. Everything has greened up and is growing like crazy (including the weeds in our garden). Yesterday we headed across the dam to our path through the woods. Its entrance is marked by two walnut trees, growing just close enough together to forbid using the mower to cut the path. In the three weeks that we were gone, the path almost disappeared with new growth of wild hemlock, tall grasses, purple wildflowers and pokeweed.

Before weed whipping the path, we harvested the leaves from the very tops of a handful of poke plants. I knew it was an edible spring green, but had never tried it before.

Once back, I did my research and determined that if I didn't boil the greens three times for 20 minutes each, I may, in fact, cause us to overdose on Vitamin A, with dire consequences. So triple boil it I did. Like spinach, the final product was much shrunk from the initial potful. Unlike spinach, it retained its bright green color. After draining it the final time, I added a bit of bacon grease, a grating of black pepper and a sprinkling of salt and served a mess of it up with our dinner.

It was tasty (bacon grease helps). It also took over an hour to prepare. If we were starving, I would certainly serve it again. Otherwise, there are lots of greens coming up in my garden that take only a minute or two to saute´.

In addition to the poke, we rounded out our dinner with our very own home-grown asparagus roasted with Parmesan and a bowl of strawberries straight from the garden for dessert.

I leave you with the lyrics from "Polk Salad Annie," a 1968 song written and performed by Tony Joe White.

If some of ya'll never been down south too much

I'm gonna tell you a little bit about this 

So that you'll understand what I'm talkin' about
Down there we have a plant that grows out in the woods
And in the fields looks somethin' like a turnip green
And everybody calls it polk salad, polk salad
Used to know a girl lived down there 
And she'd go out in the evenings and pick her a mess of it
Carry it home and cook it for supper
'Cause that's about all they had to eat, but they did all right

Down in Louisiana, where the alligators grow so mean

There lived a girl, that I swear to the world

Made the alligators look tame
Polk salad Annie, polk salad Annie
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her momma was a workin' on the chain gang
(A mean vicious woman)

Everyday for supper time, she'd go down by the truck patch

And pick her a mess of polk salad, and carry it home in a tow sack

Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody says it was a shame
Cause her momma was a workin' on the chain gang
(A wretched, spiteful, straight-razor totin' woman
Lord have Mercy, pick a mess of it)

Her daddy was lazy and no count, claimed he had a bad back

All her brothers were fit for was stealin' watermelons 

Out of my truck patch
Polk salad Annie, the gators got your granny
Everybody said it was a shame
Cause her momma was a workin' on the chain gang
(Sock a little polk salad to me, you know I need me a mess of it)

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