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Southern France
Lynn Deasy is a freelance writer, author, foodie, and garden tinkerer. She lives in a 600 year old house in southern France with her husband, Christophe. Currently, she is looking for a literary agent for her memoir CA VA? STORIES FROM RURAL LIFE IN SOUTHERN FRANCE which examines the oddities of French provincial living from an outsider’s point of view through a series of adventures that provide more than a fair share of frustration, education, admiration, and blisters…. yes, lots and lots of blisters. Lynn blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and sometimes Friday.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where The Wild Things Grow

Wild Lavender
One of the things that is truly amazing about Southern France is how the climate can change in such little distance.  Our village is in a Mediterranean climate; five minutes, as the bird flies, a neighboring village is in a colder climate and battles snow storms throughout the winter and early spring.  This problem is rare for us so late in the season; we are well into spring and the vegetation is benefiting from our daily rainfall and exhibiting a magnificent tender green.  While it’s too early to plant anything but potatoes in the garden, the mild temperatures allows for all sorts of uncultivated vegetation to flourish, some just minutes from the door. 

There is a variety of wild thyme, lavender, strawberries, garlic, asparagus, and leeks that appear this time of year.  I think the wild lavender can be used to make essential oils, and while Christophe says it’s not very interesting in the kitchen, I haven’t found any information on it being consumable, so I’m pretty sure it’s not used in cooking.  The other plants however, are completely safe and edible.  In fact the wild strawberries, or fraise des bois, are quite sought after; they are also quite fleeting.  Wild asparagus is known for being extremely tender and, if cooked at all, only take a quick blanching.  Uncultivated garlic is small and powerful, and can also be used as an insect repellent, but I think I’d rather use in the kitchen.  The overriding characteristic about all these plants are their intensity; they all seem to have an amplified taste compared to their cultivated counterparts this time of year.  Maybe it’s the emergence from winter vegetables that seems to highlight their notable characters, but they have become a teaser for summer that leaves a wanting for the months to come.

Two Varities of Wild Thyme

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