Zombies, Organically Weird Vegetables and The Archers

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Every two weeks I get a organic fruit and veg box from my greengrocer. It is an initiative started more than 10 years ago to promote local organic farming, something which, as a longtime fan of Tony and Pat Archer, is very near and dear to my heart.

“The Archers” is a classic radio serial. It runs in daily 15 minute slots, except for Saturday. Sunday morning finds the omnibus edition, in case you missed an episode and there’s a new episode aired at 8 pm. on Sunday night. Tony and Pat run the all organic and much troubled “Bridge Farm” in Ambridge. Son Tom is the organic pig farmer, everybody is related…the series has been running since 1950. Anything you need to know about the Archers can be found here. Be forewarned: it is addictive.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006qpgr/features/about

For those so inclined, you can look up which items you can expect to be in that week’s box ahead of time, but me, I like life’s little surprises.

Imagine my reaction when I found these in my veg box 10 years ago:

This is what the Dutch call “schorseneren” (plural) or “schorseneer” (singular) and it is the most singular looking vegetable I have ever seen. I would love to know which Cro-Magnon hunter-gatherer took a look at one of those and thought “Hmm, that looks rather edible and potentially delicious!” They are also known as “salisfy”, which sounds to me like what happens when Carlos Santana meets Colin Blunstone in “She’s Not There”, but I digress. Other names for this incredible edible are: Tagopogon (sounds like anti-fungal spray) and the more picturesque and folksy “goatsbeard”.

“She’s Not There” — Original by The Zombies

“She’s Not There”– salsified by Santana

I took one look at the things and called GFOTI, my father-in-law. A house-husband way before John Lennon went all “New Man” back in the late 70’s, GFOTI was an excellent cook and knew his vegetables. He was able to tell me how to prepare and cook the things. My sons hated them.

Should you, despite what I’ve told you, desire to try these oddballs of the plant kingdom at your own table, the following link will tell you all about their preparation.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/knowhow/glossary/salsify/

The schorseneren came with the box I picked up two weeks ago. This week’s box contained the much maligned parsnip. I’m terrible. I couldn’t bring myself to make a stew. The birds enjoyed them.

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