Tis the season to be stinking of wild garlic! Ramsons! Bärlauch! Now is the time to go forth and forage, bring home bunches of this pungent Springtime allium and whizz it mercilessly into glorious green pesto – for adorning your pasta, cheese sandwich, potatoes, pizza, what have you.
It’s wierd, right? In this warm weather, walking through the Christmas market with a steaming hot glühwein feels a bit odd, since the sun is out and the sky is blue. Nevertheless the temptations of the market remain, take a walk through the Gendarmenmarkt Weihnachtszauber – magic indeed!
Huge slabs of Raclette cheese getting melty
Jonathan Hamnett runs “Wildcamp” weekends in the wilds of Brandenburg outside of Berlin, which are kind of like a reset button on your mind and body. Jonathan is a real fun guy…geddit? I joined a small group one weekend, to camp out in the tangled forest of a farm where over the course of three days our main source of food would be the wild mushrooms we foraged.
Growing your own food and sourcing local products like honey and err, cake is easier than you think in Berlin. Imagine a place just a short bike ride from the bustling Eberswalder U Bahn station where you can:
Bask in vast fields of wildflowers,
Wander down laneways of apple trees,
Enjoy fallow deer nibbling grass gently from your hand,
Learn about beekeeping and take home a jar of Pankow honey,
Pay a visit to the cactii,
Grow over 25 varieties of vegetables and herbs on your plot to take home,
And eat a slice of home made cake?
That place is the Blankenfelde Botanic Garden!
Only a 30 minute enjoyable bike ride from U Bahn Eberswalder, and you’re there. The Botanischer Volkspark Blankenfelde-Pankow dates back to 1909 and was a fruit and vegetable garden during both world wars. These days it’s a public park with a coffee shop, community garden, apiary and deer park – aka heaven. The first week I discovered the park I couldn’t get enough and visited three times.
The Bauerngarten community garden in the middle of the Botanic Garden is a wonderful initiative where you can rent a plot for a year – and you get to take home over 25 varieties of veggies and herbs during the growing season. The team provides you with seedlings, young plants, compost, manure, tools and advice. You can also just come to buy plants if you already have a garden.
We collected some fallen apples (not sure if this was naughty or not) and bought a jar of Pankow honey from Café Mint – the botanical garden coffee shop with a beautiful range of homemade cakes. There are beekeeping courses on weekends starting again April 2016.
Photos and text © Elizabeth Rushe 2015