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Harvesting Edible Chestnuts in Vancouver

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Photo by Michael Levenston. Chestnuts up in the tree. Porcupine quill-like burs encase the nuts.

Most people find Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) lying on the ground in the Fall. They are a beautiful, shiny brown nuts but inedible. However, there are in Vancouver a few Spanish Chestnut or Sweet Chestnut trees (Castanea saliva), the nuts of which are edible, and elderly Asian and European residents are quick to harvest them as they fall to the ground. They often use long poles to hit them out of the trees.

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October 12, 2009   10 Comments

Backyard wine makers in Norway at 60 degrees North

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Photo: very local wine called “Côte de Rodeløkka”

The Wine Farm in Rodeløkka

There’s nothing wrong with red or black currants, but grapevines are both more fun and inspire more cooperation. Just ask Olav and Betsy Heen, who make wine from self-grown grapes in Rodeløkka, Oslo.

Olav and Betsy Heen managed to convince their neighbors in Oslo, Norway, to join them in growing grapes on the south facing walls of their houses. The result is a very local wine called “Côte de Rodeløkka”. They’ve had record crops of 75 kilos of grapes between them, but normally end up with 30 – 40 kilos, enough for 25 to 30 litres of wine.  At 60 degrees North, comparable to Labrador or Anchorage, cultivating grapes is pretty impressive. 

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October 12, 2009   2 Comments