Wild Bergamot, also known as Bee Balm or Monarda (Monarda fistulosa) is a perennial plant in the mint family. It is native to the Midwestern United States and can be found in large patches in restoration prairie. This Monarda is sourced from private property, away from roadway and agricultural pollution. The flowers are picked sparingly from each cluster and dried quickly to preserve the unique aromas and flavors. It can be used in place of oregano or as a tea plant. The flavor is somewhat spicy, slightly bitter, floral, and earthy in the way that many prairie flowers smell. Submerging the flowers in olive oil is an easy way to infuse wild flavors into your pasta dishes and salad dressings. Make natural sodas or vinegar. Each pouch contains 2 oz of flower heads.
NatureCraft Farm provides a taste of what the Midwestern-wild has to offer. Whether it is from the wooded slopes, fertile river bottoms, or the restored prairies there is a number of delicious species to choose from. Sustainability and land stewardship are at the front of my mind and always influence my foraging decisions. Increasing natives while managing invasive species is my primary mission. Help me help the land by removing invasive species and introducing them to your kitchen!
My foraging story started twelve years ago when I received a Peterson field guide on wild edible plants of the central and eastern US. As a young boy I was fascinated by all the plants and their illustrations. Dandelions gained a magical quality once I learned they could be made into coffee, tea, and even wine. Shepard's purse was no longer a random weed- but instead a snack that could be found along the garden's edge. My love for nature has only grown, and since then I have branched into eating several more species, especially those in the fungal kingdom, and continue to learn about nature's bounty.
Along with wild foods I will occasionally have heirloom produce to sell. Flour corn, eggplant, peppers, and other odds and ends can be expected.
-So join me in appreciating the wild and cultivated foods of the Midwest!