As those of you who have been following the blog regularly know, we've had a wet winter this year. These last two weeks have been a beautiful interlude in the rainy weather, but we're excited to see the return of the el nino-influenced pattern next week, when we're expecting more rain.
One benefit of the wet weather has been a bountiful cover crop, both in the sections we seeded with our standard cover crop mix of sweet peas, oats, vetch and clover and in the sections that we left to native vegetation. One water-loving plant that has appeared a lot, particularly at the bottoms of our hillsides where it's wettest, has been miner's lettuce (Latin name claytonia perfoliata). This edible (even delicious) green hasn't been seen much at the vineyard before, but we've been making use of it in salads for the past month or so. It tastes like a milder version of spinach, and can apparently be cooked as well.
It's pretty recognizable, with a long-ish stem -- up to a foot long, in some cases -- beneath a round perfoliate leaf. The small flowers, also edible, are in the center of the leaf. According to Wikipedia, it is rich in Vitamin C and was eaten by miners to avoid scurvy. A couple of photos from the vineyard:
If you find you have some of this growing near your house, enjoy!