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The Primitive Gardener

A Novel

by Kevin Feinstein (August 2017)

PG_cover

 

Matthew Falco wants to heal the planet by growing his garden. Real estate being at a premium, he purchases land far out in the rugged and beautiful wilderness. He sets out with the intention of thriving on the land, but the struggles he encounters test his very will to survive.

The tale follows Falco as he rehabilitates the land, forages for wild plants and mushrooms, hunts wild game, and faces his biggest challenge — the loneliness of his own mind. Enter the wild, full of beauty and danger, where Falco strives to find his role in the world of society and his place in nature.

“In The Primitive Gardener, [Kevin Feinstein] candidly shares his rich knowledge of living with nature, foraging, and food growing to weave an amazing fictional adventure that in many ways is more of a how-to guide than his preceding non-fictional endeavors The Bay Area Forager and Practically Wild.”




pic from back cover

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Summer Garden Tour

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour and Mega Diverse Garden Tour —  August 12, 2017 Saturday 10am-12pm (Lafayette) $40 –Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.  Sample the promise of what the season brings to our area in terms of foraging.  In this class, we are able to actually forage for many things!  So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too! Also visit the mega diverse garden, full of unusual and exciting fruits, greens, and herbs! Directions will be emailed to you, please follow them!

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Power of seed saving?

Notice in the picture how the one tray of tomato seedlings looks way further along and happier than the rest.image1

 

The only difference was that the plants that are grew much faster were from seeds that were saved on site by me. The rest were purchased (but very high quality.) Same soil mix, same type containers, same watering, equal lighting — the exact same conditions.

Other than consciousness affects, the source of the seeds is the only theory I have as to how there could be such a marked difference in the growth. I would assume because they are already that much more adapted to our local conditions. Yay seed saving!

 

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Finally a bit of sun

Not only did we have our first sunny day in a long time here this weekend, it was warmish (61 or so) and beautiful. Now being in mid February, we are far enough away from the Winter Solstice that the sun can actually begin doing something. I made a green smoothie from the backyard patio garden for the first time in a while.

From the backyard I gathered:
purple tree collards
minutina greens and immature seedheads
cilantro
flat leaf parsley
chickweed
cleavers
a few sow thistle leaves
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To these in the Vitamix I added:
— 2 small meyer lemons whole — peel and all (from the lemon tree I have tended for 11 years)
— 1 organic pear from my box with Imperfect Produce
— 1 organic (peeled) kiwi fruit from Imperfect Produce
— 2 organic bananas from Whole Foods
— some high quality sea salt
— a tablespoon of MCT oil
— 1.5 tablespoons of Organic India Psyllium husks
— a good helping of organic chia seeds
— Reverse Osmosis water
my avocado was rotten, but would have added it (and always recommend avocado in green smoothies)
Enjoy!
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It’s been a great mushroom year, and they are still popping up! This Sunday, January 22, 2017, I will be leading a mushroom class in Petaluma at Tara Firma farms. Candy caps, for one, have been spotted!

I will offer private mushroom classes going forward, but this is probably the last open mushroom class of this season. I won’t probably schedule another until late November 2017.

Click here to REGISTER

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The rains have begun, and if other forces come together, there will be mushroom foraging!  I’ve added two classes for now, hopefully there will be more possible and remember our mushroom season is super short, so don’t miss it!

I am also available for private mushroom tours, just email me!  feralkevin (at) gmail (dot) com.

 

Crash Course in Wild Mushroom Foraging and Tour November 27, 2016, Sunday 10am-12pm. (Lafayette or Oakland Hills TBA). This is the class you need if you are a beginning mushroom forager. I recommend taking this class BEFORE you start trying to use field guides to identify mushrooms and BEFORE you go on a big mushroom expedition. This is the class I wish I had when I started learning about mushrooms years ago.

Crash Course in Wild Mushroom Foraging and Tour December 10, 2016, Saturday 10am-12pm. (Lafayette or Oakland Hills TBA). This is the class you need if you are a beginning mushroom forager. I recommend taking this class BEFORE you start trying to use field guides to identify mushrooms and BEFORE you go on a big mushroom expedition. This is the class I wish I had when I started learning about mushrooms years ago.

IMG_0715

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loquat backyard salad fancy zoomed out

 

 

We were out on a bike ride and noticed a beautiful fully grown loquat tree at the end of a court along the trail. Many of its fruit were ripe, reachable and good, so we grabbed a few to take home for later.

At home, I gathered from the backyard patio garden some of my finest ingredients:

  • wild onion lily flowers and greens
  • tiny broccoli tops
  • minutina (buckhorn plantain) leaves
  • cilantro pre-flowering tips
  • johnny jump up (edible violet and pansy relative) flowers
  • flowering mache tips
  • baby purple tree collard leaves

We chopped them up and added to them: the slices of loquat, feta cheese, camelina oil / olive oil blend, black pepper and the finest salt in all the Shire.

For Dessert:

Also while out on the trail, we came across a very interesting super early feral mulberry tree. We gathered a handful of the ripe berries, which were very good, not the sweetest but had more of that unique mulberry taste with an amazing texture. We added them to Strauss vanilla ice cream drizzled with sunflower butter.  I might make another post about this mulberry tree soon.

mulberries from trail

 

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herbs and greens for salad

Garden salad with:

flowering mache tops

cilantro tips

wild onion lily flowers

baby purple tree collards

fresh lemon juice

olive oil

the finest salt in all the Shire

coarsely ground black pepper

comments:  The baby collards hit the umami receptors, but all the food had that richness. The subtle mustardy spice kick of the collards and the garlic/onion spice of the wild onion lily flowers was balanced by the cool succulent quality of the mache. The cilantro tips add almost a sweetness that just made it all work. It really brought out the taste of the garden. We liked this one a lot. Did nothing else while eating it.

garden salad for blog

Cornbread with:

cornmeal with baking powder

coconut flower

camelina and coconut oil and grass fed butter

chopped wild onion lily greens

salt

cilantro

pastured eggs

rice milk with lemon juice

Comments:  “Tell me that’s not the best cornbread you have ever had”  “Wow. Wow.” ” Defintiely one of the best ever.  The onions!  I can’t even have it any more without the onions.”

Everything in both dishes organic and beyond. All greens and herbs from 8 feet outside the kitchen grown in soil high in trace minerals and beneficial microbes using filtered water.

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It’s been an unusual spring weather wise, — at least unusual relief from the past 5 years of drought.  The wild plants are going crazy and the hills are as green as I have ever seen them.

The warm season plants aren’t very happy. Things like tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, moringa, longevity spinach, etc. We haven’t been particularly cold, but certainly have lacked warmth. But lots of wonderful moisture for the cool season crops.  I love not watering the garden!
We’re just barely past the equinox, so there is still so much potential for growing food. My favorite time of year!

New classes are up.  Happy Spring!

 

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — April 17 2016, Sunday 10am-12pm(Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join me on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

Neighborhood Edible Plant Tour April 23 2016, Saturday 10am-12pm (Walnut Creek, CA) $40 — Neighborhood Edible Plant Walk. I will take you around the local hood sharing his knowledge of the diversity of plants that grow right off the sidewalk, road, and trail. We’ll meet at the Contra Costa Canal Trail right below Masses Sports Bar and Grill. Park on the street, not at the Masses. Thanks!

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — May 8 2016, Sunday 10am-12pm(Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join me on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

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