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04/01/06 - Farmers' Market Nettle Soup

We were pleased to see more farmers and more spring vegetables at the Port Angeles Farmers' Market. As one might expect, things were slow this winter, especially with the market moving from downtown back to the Clallam County Courthouse parking lot. As usual, we went to town, buying carrots, salad greens, flowering arugula, blue hubbard squash and farm fresh eggs. As we always say, "Round up the usual vegetables". (You can tell we are big Casablanca fans).

One big surprise was a bunch of plastic bags marked with a big sign saying DO NOT TOUCH. Needless to say, we did not touch. What was in the bags? Nettles!

One of the local farmers has been gathering the nettles that bloom in the spring and are the despair of all too many gardeners. It is a very good idea not to touch nettles, at least not without a pair of good gloves. Of course, cooked nettles are another matter entirely.

We bought a bag and boiled up some heritage breed turkey stock. Using a pair of ultra sturdy, bright blue silicone rubber gloves, we washed the nettles and popped them into the boiling broth. We also cut up and added some potatoes, and some salt and cracked pepper. A half an hour later, we were in heaven.

Nettles taste somewhere between artichokes and snails. They taste little like kale or collards. Their flavor is much deeper and darker, with a little musty, minty twang. Needless to say, we won't get to have a soup like this very often, but it was rich and hearty, and a definite harbinger of spring.



Port Angeles Farmers' Market

The Farmers' Market on a rainy Saturday

Nettle and Potato Soup

Nettle and Potato Soup


Keywords: farms, port angeles, spring, winter, farmers' market, kale