It was a curious thing, the way it happened. There I was, a city person in the countryside, and as unlikely as it sounds, I ended up teaching the rural folks about the food growing on the land. I arrived to find a rolling prairie of golden grass shaded by live oak and manzanita trees. I noticed that the hillsides were dotted with two kinds of bright yellow wildflowers. Naturally, I had to know what they were as soon as I saw them. It was a mystery to my hosts, so I researched the plants on the internet and in books.
I was very excited when I discovered that the first was a kind of golden brodiea called Prettyface, Triteleia ixioides, the bulbs of which were a staple food for indigenous hunter-gatherers of the northwest. This one:
The other was Tarweed, shown at the top, whose seeds were traditionally roasted and eaten. Both plants are also found in Oregon.
It is interesting to me that these folks work 12- to 16-hour days to grow food for their family and their customers on a small portion of the 80 acre property they own, and yet they’re surrounded by nature’s garden, as Sam Thayer calls it — food that grows itself. Isn’t that something?