I was mowing the lawn the other day with my battery operated push mower. Around the front of the house the mower bogged down and I had trouble pushing it. Around and around it was the same thing when I hit a certain patch. Then I smelled it, the familiar acrid scent of sorrel. It was so familiar, it grows in poor low pH soils and it grew all over our farm on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

We moved there when I was 13, my parents, 2 brothers and a sister to a remote horse powered farm with heavy clay soil, a difficult climate and very little money. The first year the garden didn’t produce much, my parents were figuring out how to grow vegetables in such a harsh environment. So sorrel, dandelions, wild mushrooms, and fiddleheads became a must in our diet. Whatever we could harvest from the wild, we did.

Ok so sorrel wasn’t my favorite, it is a bit slimy when made into sorrel soup, and very sour in a salad. But it was probably nutritious and filled in when little else was available. I remember picking it to mix with the lettuce, it was always in abundant supply in the lawn. I’m sure it’s a delicacy somewhere but from where I stand I’m glad I just have to mow it and can eat leaf lettuce!