A Visit to Eva’s Garden
On Thursday, the Environmental Horticulture Sustainable Agriculture (EHA) interns took a drive down to Eva’s Garden, located in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, with a few members of the Wellesley College Friends of the Botanic Gardens. Eva’s Garden, which originally began as a family garden, gradually grew into a two-acre farm that now produces fresh organic certified flowers, herbs, and specialty greens. She now sells to select restaurants and supermarkets including Persimmons, Main Street Café and Bakery, Whole Foods Market, and more. Additionally, with the publication of the cookbook Wild Flavors: One Chef’s Transformative Year Cooking from Eva’s Farms by renown chef Didi Emmons, a sense of collaboration and inspiration to share this culinary odyssey with the rest of the world awakened in these two women.
Accustomed to hosting friends at her farm, Eva Sommaripa herself went out to meet the Wellesley party and gave them a private tour of her herb garden. She described the unique herbs and wild edibles that lined her fields and greenhouses as she encouraged everyone to take bites of anything that they found. Not shying away from invasive weeds that are native to the New England area, she picked some goosefoot, oxalis flowers, and parsnip flowers for the group to sample. Eva pointed out the edible wild sorrel and noted that the pant’s tangy taste comes from oxalic acid. Along the way, Eva also introduced some of her favorite edible flowers including the bright blue Bachelor Buttons, large Carnation Poppies, and orange Nasturtiums. Meanwhile, Didi instructed the EHSA interns to forage for several buckets worth of delectable greens and flowers that would later be added to her salad.
After the tour made its way back to Eva’s house, Didi led a cooking demonstration and showed the proper way of dressing a salad. Explaining the cost of these microgreens and edible flowers, she explained that the biggest mistake that people make is “over-dressing” the salad. “A few tablespoons of olive oil, a red vinegar, and dash of salt is all you really need,” Emmons explains.
The intimate tour and lunch concluded on a bittersweet note as guests sampled a rhubarb rose-jam ice cream, purchased autographed copies of Didi’s various cookbooks, and said goodbye to the two very inspirational women. And always remember, a chef is only as good as her farmer.
Peas and Beets,