Edible Estates, the book’s title implies something loftier for the garden, an idea that challenges our green grass in the front yard paradigm. Fritz Haeg, environmental designer, teacher and visionary is talking about replacing grass with food, unpretentiously but artfully.
He’s working to make edible gardens a practical, attractive, and nutritious option that yield something for the resources and effort given. If you’ve been wondering about the feasibility of this approach, Edible Estates might be the book for you, but first check out author Fritz Haeg’s website which has an edible estates menu where you can read about and view photographs of what people have done with this idea all over the country, the world. There are photo examples, and a letter written by a homeowner, The Lawn Goodbye.
Bob spoke about planting more edibles in our front yard years ago, I resisted, but I’m over it. We have a productive vegetable garden in the backyard, and now a few stray edibles in the front yard as well: artichoke, parsley, thyme, lavender, blueberries and a Montmorency sour cherry tree. We still have some grass and I’m open-minded about growing food just about anywhere these days.
artichokes and blueberries are on the way, but right now the lavender beckons and it’s perfect for herb-infused whipped cream. Easy and right out of the front yard. Another example of how an herb adds its note of distinction to almost anything and with such ease.
Lavender Whipped Cream is delicious atop all kinds of things including anything chocolate, fresh berries or rhubarb sauce. Truthfully, I hesitated when first introduced to this concept, I couldn’t imagine that I would like even the slightest flavor of lavender in my whipping cream. Now I’m a convert. About once each year we make a fancy frothy dessert called Pavlova. This version of lavender-infused whipped cream was inspired by Jerry Traunfeld’s Pavlova in The Herbfarm Cookbook.
Lavender Whipped Cream:
Using heavy cream, *not ultrapasteurized, heat whatever amount you’d like in a saucepan. When the cream is very warm, turn the heat off, add several sprigs of fresh lavender and let it steep for ten minutes, or longer if you want more flavor. A larger amount of cream will require more lavender. I used four lavender sprigs, (unsprayed, no pesticides), to one cup of cream. Taste it. It should have a subtle, but distinctive lavender edge. Remove lavender and thoroughly rechill the cream. Whip as usual with a little sugar and a tiny nip of vanilla if you like. Serve it with almost anything, or just eat a dollop and never mind about putting anything underneath.
Edible urban gardens are changing the landscape of communities, agriculturally and socially. There’s been a lot in the media and I’ve recently had several conversations with people who are wondering about the idea of an edible garden, back yard, front yard, wherever. Can we get by with less grass in the yard in exchange for some food on the table? Maybe we can.
* Use heavy cream (at least 36% butterfat) and rechill thoroughly before whipping. Ultrapasteurized whipping cream is usually impossible to whip after having been heated.