Once our barn is retrofitted, Wildside will offer annual workshops on a limited number of basic skills and choices that are key to achieving greater food and energy security.
Seed Saving Basics: Several methods
Seed-saving is fun! Sometimes (as with squash and beans) it's fairly easy, although a tip or two from old hands will improve results. Sometimes (as with tomatoes) a deft touch and a hands-on demonstration by an expert is important. And sometimes (as with spinach and carrots) several steps and considerable care over two years is required.
Foraging for wild foods is a satisfying way to live a little closer to the land. We will learn where to find spring ramps, and how not to over-harvest … and did we ever call lambs quarters, sheep sorrel, wood sorrel and purslaine weeds? But they make a delicious and nutritious wild green salad! And wild mushrooms -- which ones are safe?
Medicinal uses for herbs: What do we know now?
Medicinal uses of herbs are gaining wider respect in recent years for help relieving everything from bee stings to anxiety to fever to joint pain to asthma. Year by year, work by mainstream scientists is beginning to confirm the effectiveness of many traditional herbal remedies, and give greater confidence among a wider public in using herbs as medicine.
Food preservation: Canning
Canning can be a scary process for beginners, but hesitate no more! Learn how to preserve everything safely, from pickles to jams and jellies for your winter pleasure or holiday gifts.
Food preservation: Drying
Drying fruits and vegetables is an ancient technique for preserving food while keeping nutritients and good tastes intact. Unfortunately drying the old-fashioned way is most easily practiced in sunnier climes! So, what to do in New England with our heavy dews and intermittant rains? The answer is careful preparation and then drying in a slow conventional oven or in special dryers, many of which are solar powered.
©2014 Michele Turre
Food preservation: Root cellaring and beyond
Wildside has a handsome little underground root cellar which helps keep some vegetables fresh through the winter without refrigeration. Carrots and beets are packed in moist sawdust; rutabagas, turnips and cabbages do fine sitting on a shelf in the cool, dark, slightly wet environment.
Other vegetables -- squash, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic -- need cool but dry environments to keep through the winter. There are solutions for each, including one that dates back to an American Indian practice of digging a lined hole to store squash in the earth below the frost line, to be retrieved as needed through to spring.
Food preservation: Lacto-fermentation
Lacto-fermentation -- a kind of pickling -- has enjoyed renewed popularity in recent years. Whether it's old-timey dill pickles or new-wave kimchi, the health benefits are said to be impressive -- and the results for those who like slightly astringent foods, are yummy. The big surprise is how easy it is!
Winterizing or Going Solar
Whether you are building or retrofitting, what to do and how to finance are key questions -- and the answers are always changing. What technologies are being successfully practiced right now, and what is on the horizon? What subsidies and tax breaks are available? We will go over the essentials, and point you toward reliable experts.
Workshops will be free of charge for Conway residents, with a small fee for others. Workshop presenters will be offered expenses plus an honorarium.