I like taking my dog Rubin to my writing studio. It’s a small enough room that it feels like a den — more like a walk-in closet — and he usually curls up under my desk and keeps my feet warm. He’s a white malamute shepherd so he’s not small and only has a few places to get comfortable in the room. It’s nice having company while I write, research stories and projects, boil ramen in the hot pot, talk on Skype.
The best part of taking Rubin to work is that he gets me on a regular walk schedule. I love walks period but I’m more inclined to skip them when he’s not around. So at the end of last week — remember how sunny and beautiful it was? — I was at my studio and took Rubin on a mid-day walk. I was soaking up the sunshine and shaking off a little work stress when I came upon something extraordinary…
You see what I’m talking about above and below — the largest urban patch of miner’s lettuce I’ve ever laid eyes on! So large in fact I actually looked around to see if anyone else was onto it. There were a couple homeless guys tinkering with their tent fifty yards away but other then that it was just me and Rubin. Bounty!
I plucked a bit and ate it on the spot — first miner’s lettuce of the season! And then we carried on with our walk after deciding to make a pit stop there with a bag to harvest before heading home.
By the time quitting time came around I almost forgot about the miner’s lettuce but lucky for me my post-work brain kicked in and I stopped by the patch to snip enough for a big salad for a barbecue that night. I didn’t even come close to making a dent. The patch is so big that I could probably eat salads from it all summer. I plan to do just that in fact. For the miner’s lettuce salad last week I added butter lettuce and radishes along with mint, fennel and ribboned sorrel from the yard. I tossed it all with a homemade white miso, lime and olive oil vinaigrettte. Delicious.
I’m not telling you where my newfound miner’s lettuce patch is but if you’re looking for urban wild edibles now’s the time. I highly recommend that you check this open source website out too — Urban Edibles. I wrote about it in my book and there’s a ton of great PDX foraging info. there. If you need some schooling Wild Food Adventures is heading into another fantastic spring season of local foraging expeditions and workshops.