There will be a meeting on Zoom on Tuesday. If you would like to attend please get in touch and we will send you link.
Corona, of course, is uppermost in all our minds. But like any bad situation it has its good points and many things to be learned from it. Needless to say my thoughts go out to anyone who has suffered directly, or indirectly any of the many downsides, stresses or heart ache that have ensued.
However I hope some of you may have been enjoying the extra time and lack of outside pressures to reflect on the hopeful and rewarding aspects that have sprung up and that we can harness to move onwards in a positive way for ourselves and our planet.
One thing I have been finding time to do is eat my garden weeds. It’s something I always wanted to explore more - wild harvesting – but never seemed to find the time to get much further than gathering elderflower for cordial, foraging for the odd fungi, or picking sloes for sloe gin. So, weeds, our friends not our enemies; they protect bare earth from degradation, they are fodder for a multitude of insects, several can be composted or made into a good feed for plants and finally, many are edible!
The beauty of eating what you would otherwise be disposing of is obvious and I have to say…quite satisfying in a slightly vengeful way if one is feeling antagonistic towards a particularly unruly specimen.
Here are some of my favourite weeds:
Ground elder – blame the Romans, they didn’t just give us roads and sanitation, they brought us ground elder, which they used as a vegetable. It is actually very tasty, quite like spinach.
Simply pick some nice young leaves and cook gently with a little water and a knob of butter or splash of olive oil, if wished. Like spinach it does disappear when cooked so be sure to gather a decent amount.
Dandelion – yes they have more uses than for children using them as clocks so they could stay out playing a bit longer. I hope children still play that game – you pick a seed head and blow; one o clock, blow again; two o clock, until there are no seeds remaining on the stalk. The trick is to blow quite hard if it’s getting near ‘going home time’. Dandelions were used in Minorca when a plague of locusts decimated much other vegetation and are still eaten quite a lot in France.
Small young leaves can be eaten raw in a salad or can be cooked like the ground elder. In common with a lot of wild salad plants, soaking overnight can improve the flavour, making them less bitter.
Comfrey – it grows in great abundance with us and is very useful for making into a feed for plants, often mixed with nettles. It is not so useful when it decides to grow smack in the middle of the veg patch as it has a huge root and masses of foliage…
Like the other two it can be eaten as a vegetable or added to soup. It can also be made into fritters by dipping the leaf in batter. As with all edible weeds, use young clean leaves and remove tough stalks.
Nettles – well we all know about nettles OUCH! Great for insects, not so great when you grasp one by accident (yes I’ve tried grasping them as it’s said they won’t sting you if you’re firm. Not true! Don’t tickle them either. Docken leaf and spit don’t soothe much, but they take your mind off the pain).
Nettles make a good soup, on their own or with a variety of greens. Use gloves to gather and as with all plants, shake off any beasties and rinse well in water. Always gather your wild food in a place away from road verges or other potentially polluted areas and hopefully not somewhere that is used as a toilet for dogs or humans.
Once prepared simply snip leaves into a pot containing some sautéed onion and garlic, potato or whatever. Stir well, add a little water and any fresh or dried herbs and cook for fifteen minutes or so. Liquidise and serve with a wee dod of cream, yoghurt or swirl of a nice oil, sprinkle with paprika and fresh herbs and voila!
Sweet Cecily – ah sweet Cecily…Myrrhis odorata (L) . The Latin names are taken from the Greek word for perfume due to its scent. Also not ideal coming through the border or veg patch as it has masses of foliage and seeds prolifically. It has a big and persistent root but with the advantage of being edible if boiled like a parsnip or eaten in a salad. The leaves can be used in salads, soups or stews. The seeds are sweet with an aniseed flavour and are refreshing to nibble on. Even the stems can be boiled and eaten. It can be used as a replacement for sugar and was once used to flavour the Chartreuse.
The above plants have many varied uses medicinally and interesting folklore and facts relating to them, but for the purposes of today I have concentrated on their edible nature.
Have fun, experiment, eat well, save money, all without stepping much further than your own shadow (low carbon footprint!).
Our local online Neighbourfood market was launched on Wednesday 24th June and is now open for orders. As we are just starting and have 11 producers so far, please check the market weekly for any new additions and if you have Facebook you can follow us for updates. Our producers are ready to provide you directly with a growing selection of fantastic produce such as fruit and veg, bread, pies and pastries, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, preserves and jams, beer and much more.
It is very simple to sign up to and use.
You (the customer) will be emailed when a new market opens each Wednesday.
You will then have up to 5 days to place your orders which must be completed before Monday 1am.
Once the open shopping window closes for the week, all your orders are passed on to the producers and suppliers, who then have 2 days to make, bake, pick, harvest all the goods.
Every Tuesday, your shopping will be delivered to our designated local pick up point in the Moulin Hall, Moulin Square, PH16 5EW for collection between 4pm and 7pm.
The first collection day for your orders will be Tuesday 30th June and while contact-free collection is our preferred way, we can also offer a home delivery service with volunteers from Pitlochry and Moulin Community Council Coronavirus Support Group for those that are still self isolating and sheilding.
The local Pitlochry & District Climate Cafe are running our local NeighbourFood market as we think it is a great idea and useful to help reduce waste and our local community carbon footprint. Starting with Pitlochry, we will also be looking at drop off points in Killiecrankie, Blair Atholl, Calvine, Tummel, Kinloch Rannoch, Aberfeldy, Ballinluig and anywhere else in the Highland Perthshire area where there is interest.
Here is the link to join the Pitlochry Market on the NeighbourFood website. Please click ‘Join Up’ to join and find out more!
And please share with your friends and family!
Carol Aitken and Kaja Ekiert (Handam and Pitlochry & District Climate Cafe)
For more information on Pitlochry NeighbourFood -
Contact Kaja Ekiert: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or check out our facebook page: Neighbourfood Pitlochry
Have you heard about the Neighbourfood network? It is a growing network of online markets that are providing a new way to shop and eat well while supporting local producers. Every week you can choose from a growing range of products that come direct from local farms, food producers, market traders and specialist suppliers such as fruit and Veg, bread, pies and pastries, cheese, meat, fish, eggs, preserves and jams, beer and much more.
How does it work? It is very simple to sign up to and use.
You (the customer) will be emailed when a new market opens each week.
You will then have up to 5 days to place your weekly shop. Orders must be placed before Sunday 12am.
Once the open shopping window closes for that week, we send all your orders to the producers and suppliers, who then have 2 days to make, bake, pick, harvest or pack your shopping.
Your shopping is delivered to a designated local pick up point for collection at the same time every week. In Pitlochry, location still to be confirmed, this would be on a Tuesday between 4pm to 7pm. However during the lock down a delivery service will be provided.
The Pitlochry & District Climate Cafe are helping with the setting up and running of our local NeighbourFood market as we think it is a great idea and useful to all of us, especially those who are continuing to self isolate or shielding. We have plenty of local producers to ask and plenty of volunteers from Pitlochry and Moulin Community Council Coronavirus Support Group who we hope will be able to help with deliveries. Starting in Pitlochry we will also be looking at drop off points in Blair Atholl, Aberfeldy and anywhere in the area where there is enough interest.
We hope to launch the market as soon as possible so in order to do that we need customers and producers to be already signed up. At the moment we have several local producers signed up with more to contact. If you know of anyone who could be a producer please let them know of this new venture.
For more information on Pitlochry NeighbourFood, contact:- Kaja Ekiert: email@example.com or check out our facebook page: Neighbourfood Pitlochry.
Here is the link to join the Pitlochry Market on the NeighbourFood website. Please click ‘Join Up’ to join and find out more!
And please share with your friend and family!
Due to the rapidly changing public health situation tonight's meeting has been postponed.
Our next environmental chat will take place on Friday 17th April as 10th April is Good Friday, in Pitlochry Town Hall, West Moulin Road, Pitlochry, 7pm to 9pm. A Climate Cafe is where people come together for a regular monthly meeting which is open to everyone of any age whether they are familiar with climate change or not, but are interested in its effects on the environment. Come chat about any concerns or interests you have, exchange information, find some answers. For more information contact:- Carol Aitken: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our Face Book page: Climate Cafe Pitlochry & District and our new Website: pitlochrycc.co.uk courtesy of Kate Kirby for more tips and information.
This month we are organising another Zero Waste event in the Pitlochry Town Hall on Saturday 18th April from 10am till 3pm. The Spring Green Festival will include a selection of stalls providing different products from food to plants, activities for the kids, a Biodynamic garden talk and a yoga session to name a few and we will be providing information on reducing waste, recycling and continue our Big Climate Conversation.
We are also working with Jane King and Jenni Moncrieff from both the Climate Cafe and the local Rotary Club to support the reduction of single-use plastic in Pitlochry, to make our town more 'plastic-lite'. We know that we cannot stop using plastics as it is such a useful and practical material, but the aim is to reduce its use, to reuse and refill containers and water bottles and then recycle the rest. We will also be encouraging those with shop windows to create a sculpture made from their single use or non recyclable waste and to display a poster to the effect that we are all working together to make Pitlochry ‘plastic-lite’. Check out Macnaughton's Hanger man.
Carol Aitken -
This meeting was focused on a presentation by John Ferguson, director of Eco idea M and founder of PI Polymers Recycling who is working at Binn Eco Park with Zero Waste Scotland on Project Beacon, a project developing a facility that will up-cycle all types of plastics even the ones we think are non recyclable. It was a very interesting presentation and the discussion afterwards gave us a better insight into these recent advancements of processing the many different types of plastics we use so we can reuse them.
"He has brought different businesses together to build something entirely new. Each business – Ferguson’s PI-Polymer Recycling along with Recycling Technologies Ltd and Impact Recycling Ltd – uses new unique cutting-edge plastic recycling technologies. Their co-location enables the development of an integrated system with the power to suck all types of plastics out of the waste environment.
One of the big barriers to recycling progress is that people are confused about what they can recycle or not. Project Beacon will demonstrate a system that enables householders to recycle all household plastics at the kerbside."
I have included a few links from the past few years explaining more about what he is trying to achieve.
The next Climate Café meeting will take place at 7pm on Friday the 13th March at the HSPC, Atholl Road, Pitlochry.
Ideas to be discussed include:
By Carol Aitken -
This was a very positive meeting on Monday with nine SNP Councillors. Myself, Len, (Blairgowrie & Rattray CC), Liz, (Dunkeld & Birnam CC) represented the local climate cafes and we had been invited to the meeting by Councillor Fiona Sarwar. We found the atmosphere amongst them very positive and we all agreed we need to keep the dialogue ongoing and open.
Len emailed a thank you back to Fiona and we thought we should reiterate a few points that were discussed. Here is our list of points that Len emailed back to them:
The Woodland Trust is running a petition for an Emergency Tree Plan which recommends the majority of woodland creation should be delivered with native woods and trees.
Native woodland is essential for long term carbon storage and crucial for integrating our response to the nature and climate crisis.