Incredible Edibles

Incredible Edible Westmount is an initiative of the Westmount Horticultural Advisory Committee in partnership with the City’s Public Works Department. The programme was inspired by Incredible Edible Todmorden, an urban agriculture initiative in the UK that began in 2008 and has spread around the world.

Since 2011, The City of Westmount has incorporated edible plants into a number of its flower beds and street planters each summer. It also offers herb and vegetable seedlings alongside flowers each spring at Westmount’s Perennial Plant Exchange. In addition, the Westmount Public Library now features a seed library which allows members to ‘borrow’ seeds in the spring, grow out the plants and and make contributions of seeds in the fall. . The presence of edible plants in our public spaces helps increase awareness about food security, prompts gardeners to grow food at home and encourages the local urban food movement. In addition, many vegetables and fruits have wonderful ornamental qualities that bring a unique beauty to flower beds.

Westmount has planted thousands of edible plants throughout the City, including more than 400 around City Hall. Anyone is welcome to pick small quantities of the plants for their own consuption, providing the plants are not removed and the appearance of the plant beds are preserved.

LOCATION OF EDIBLE PLANTS IN PUBLIC GREEN SPACES

  • Westmount Park (WRC Roof) – Various mixed veggies
  • Devon Park – Bulls Blood Beets
  • Murray Hill – Douglas – Bulls Blood Beets
  • Murray Hill – Grenville – Bulls Blood Beets
  • KGP – Belmont – Bulls Blood Beets
  • City Hall – Cote Saint Antoine – Swiss Chard Bright Lights
  • Îlot Barrat – Vignal – Brassica Toscano

DESCRIPTIONS OF PLANT VARIETIES USED

Beta vulgaris var. cicla ‘Bright Lights’

Description
‘Bright Lights’ Swiss Chard is a stunning chard mix whose stems are bright gold, pink and crimson. A few plants will be white and pink striped, orange, scarlet, purple or green. All are delicious to eat and add vibrant colour to a plant bed.

Nutrients
Swiss chard is antioxidant-rich and is full of beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C. It is also a good source of fibre, vitamin K and iron.

How to select
Select stems which are firm and greens which are vibrant.

When and how to pick
During the spring and summer months, please pick a maximum of 10% of the stems and leaves. Make a clean cut with scissors or a sharp knife to assure the plant will survive the season and keep our plant beds beautiful. Pick the outer leaves first so the plant will continue to produce new inner leaves.

In late September through October, the swiss chard will be fully mature and can be removed entirely at the base with a sharp knife.

Preparation
Swiss chard is best harvested young for salads. Older leaves are best sautéed or cooked in soups. Refrigerate unwashed leaves in a lightly damp paper towel slipped into a very loosely closed plastic bag. Leaves store for up to 14 days.

Recipe

BRIGHT LIGHTS SWISS CHARD TACO WRAPS WITH CUMIN-LIME SAUCE

Ingredients

Cumin-lime sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 to 2 large limes)
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 scallions, minced-white and light green parts only
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin + more if you like the heat
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Wraps:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (15-oz can) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 12 ‘Bright lights’ Swiss chard leaves, tough stems removed

Preparation

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a mason jar and secure it with a lid. Shake vigorously until the dressing is well combined. You can also do this with an immersion blender or food processor. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the black beans, corn, pepper, tomatoes, red onion, and pepper. Cook until just heated through (about 5-8 minutes).
  3. Toss in cooked rice and fresh cilantro.
  4. Toss with the dressing.
  5. Season with a little salt and stir until well combined.
  6. Scoop a healthy portion of the veggie mixture into each chard leaf and either wrap like a burrito or hold like a corn tortilla.
  7. Add a few pickled jalapeños, avocado, shredded cheese and a small dash of hot sauce, if desired.

Source

website : thekitchn.com

Beta vulgaris

Description
This heirloom beet from 1840 is primarily grown for its tender, sweet, deep red-burgundy foliage, but the beets are also tasty. Though it is edible, it is often grown as an ornamental, and its dark leaves contrast nicely with many garden plants.

Nutrients
Beets are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. They also contain a good amount of calcium, iron and antioxidants.

How to select
Leaves can be eaten anytime but the beet should be pulled out in the fall when the leaves reach 18 inches high and the beet is 2-3 inches in size.

When and how to pick
During the spring and summer months, please pick a maximum of 10% of the stems and leave the beets in the ground to mature. This assures that plant will survive the season and keep our plant beds beautiful.

Preparation
Beets and beet leaves can be eaten cooked or raw in salads. Beets can be baked, boiled, steamed or pickled. Beet juice is delicious when combined with other fruits and beet soup is also a popular dish, hot or cold.

Recipe

STRAWBERRY-BEET SMOOTHIE

Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup roasted beets
    • 2 cups strawberries
    • 1 cup plain whole-milk yoghurt
    • 2 tablespoons raw honey
    • 1 banana
    • 1/2 cup orange juice

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (190 °C).
  2. Trim the tops and tails off the beets and cut in half.
  3. Drizzle beets with olive oil and cover with the remaining foil.
  4. Bake for about an hour or until beets are soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, peel off the skins.
  5. In a storage bag combine beets and ½ cup orange juice. Store marinated beets in the fridge for up to a week.
  6. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Source

website: livesimply.me

Brassica oleracea var. lacinata L.

Description
An Italian heirloom of the Lacinato or “dinosaur” family. Its rich, tender leaves are dark green-blue. The leaves are not very curled but are very crinkled. They have a softer texture than curly green kale and are delicious cooked. They are also an interesting addition to a flower garden.

Nutrients
Brassica toscano is extremely nutrient rich per calorie. It boasts a large dose of Vitamins K, A and C as well as lots of magnesium, calcium and iron. Being a leafy green, it is also high in fiber.

How to select
Brassica toscano can be eaten at any stage. Look for plants with firm, richly coloured leaves.

Brassica toscano are delicious to moths and beetles also. Westmount is pesticide free so you may see small holes in the leaves. These leaves are still perfectly good to eat, just make sure you give them a wash before eating like all other vegetables and fruits.

When and how to pick
During the spring and summer months, please pick a maximum of 10% of the stems and leaves. Make a clean cut with scissors or a sharp knife to assure the plant will survive the season and keep our plant beds beautiful. Pick the outer leaves first so the plant will continue to produce new inner leaves.

In late September through October, the brassica toscano will be fully mature and can be removed entirely at the base with a knife.

Preparation
The young leaves are better suited for raw eating, while tougher mature leaves are better for steaming, frying or adding to soups. Brassica toscano is perfect for drying into ‘chips.’

Some people don’t like the bitterness, for the most part, it tastes a lot like chard or collards. A light frost will sweeten the flavour, so harvesting later in the year is ideal.

Unwashed, raw brassica toscano will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. To freeze, blanch and store in airtight plastic bags.

Recipe

TUSCAN KALE SALAD

Ingredients

  • 4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed.
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • hot red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavourful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread

Preparation

  1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
  2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
  3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
  4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Source

drweil.com

WESTMOUNT RECREATION CENTRE
(green roof next to the café)

Beet ‘Bull’s Blood’
Swiss chard ‘Bright Lights’
Swiss chard ‘Bali’
Kale ‘Toscano’
Strawberry ‘Berri Basket’

Sunflower
Ground cherry
Herbs – sage, tarragon, chives parsley, oregano

HARVESTING - SUMMER AND AUTUMN

Members of the public are invited to use the edible plants, but are asked to harvest no more than 10% of any vegetables or fruit at a given time and to use care to avoid damaging or pulling out the plants (where possible, bring scissors). This will ensure a continued production of leaves and fruit throughout the season, and will help the plant displays look attractive and full throughout the summer.

At the end of the growing season, the flowers are turned into compost and given away to residents free of charge during the seasonal compost distribution. The remaining vegetables and fruits are picked by volunteers and donated to the Depot Community Food Centre in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

INCREDIBLE EDIBLES: THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT

The Incredible Edible project – now a global movement – began as an urban gardening project in 2008 by a group of residents in Todmorden, U.K., population 15,000. The project aims to bring people together through actions around local food, helping to change behaviour towards the environment and to build a kinder and more resilient world. In many places, it also envisions making towns and cities more self-sufficient in food production and lead the way to a healthier, more sustainable and more inclusive local food system.

 

These initiatives can take many forms – vegetable gardens, street planters, food forests, edible restaurant terraces, and more – and are usually planted and maintained by volunteer citizens. In only a few years, this single experiment in local self-sufficiency has been taken up by communities all over the world and there are now 120 official IE groups in the UK and more than 700 worldwide.

People around the world are adapting and benefitting from this new way of urban living by creating gardens and producing food in urban spaces that might otherwise be unused. Beyond encouraging local food, creative and collective action for the common good is truly at the heart of the Incredible Edible idea.

(source: Wikipedia and Incredible Edible Todmorden)

Learn more about the movement and consult the world map of IE initiatives:
Incredible Edible Todmorden.

URBAN FRUIT GLEANING AND FRUIT SHARING

Fruit gleaning – the harvest of leftover or unwanted crops – is gaining popularity in cities around the world. In Montreal, several urban agriculture and meals on wheels groups organize teams of pickers to harvest fruit from public or private trees that would otherwise be unused. The fresh fruit is then shared between tree owners, pickers, food banks, shelters and community kitchens. It reduces food waste and benefits the community.

If you have a tree with fruit to share, or if you are looking to join a team and help harvest fruit, you can find a group to collaborate with by searching online. There are also a few websites with mapping tools where you can donate or swap fruit, or find others that wish to share their harvest.

We encourage anyone wanting to learn more about fruit collection or about joining a group to find more information online by using the following key words in their search: urban fruit harvest, gleaning, fruit rescue, city fruit, harvest sharing, surplus fruit, etc.