The joy of being outdoors

Last saturday I went to the monthly volunteering at De Brede Moestuin, with a friend who was visiting from Denmark.  It was the most perfect day, sunny and warm with cloudless blue sky.  The vegetable garden is more and more green and there was a lot to harvest.

Fava beans

Fava beans

We chatted while weeding a bed and planting Daikon radish. Meanwhile others picked huge bags full of fava beans, beetroots, sugar snaps, garlic…

Garlic

Garlic

Next to the vegetable patches there is also a large area of wild flowers growing high and colourful, with pollinators having a blast. It’s so pretty compared to the skyscrapers and building sites! I can imagine there are lots of other animals living amongst the tall plants creating a rich ecosystem in the concrete jungle.

Wild flowers

Wild flowers

We got to take some super fresh garlic home, and another volunteer offered us some raapstelen (Brassica rapa subsp. campestris) and mustard greens (with a purple tint) from his allotment telling us what parts we could eat, including the little yellow flowers.

Fresh greens for our lunch

Fresh greens for our lunch

When I’m done working in the garden I’m always starving. So we cycled home and made a huge salad, and a delicious omelette with lots of cheese, then finished off the meal sipping ice-cold limoncello…  Simple and delicious!

Fresh garlic

Fresh garlic

Have you ever seen such beautiful fresh garlic? The white is so pure when you peel off the outer leaves. It tastes less strong and a little sweeter than the normal supermarket type. I’m going to be cooking a lot with garlic for the next weeks:)

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De Brede Moestuin

Near my place there is a beautiful vegetable garden where I go and volunteer once a month called De Brede Moestuin. The last 2 times I was helping there in February and March it was raining and cold, but people turned up all the same and it was fun to be all in the same (wet) boat.  Yesterday it was really sunny and just the right temperature which made it even more appreciable.

De Brede Moestuin

De Brede Moestuin

The garden is right in the middle of the business district, surrounded with skyscrapers and extremely modern architecture of the Zuidas.  I really love the contrast of this green oasis with the backdrop of buildings. It’s real urban farming.

Red beets, lettuce, garlic...

Red beets, lettuce, garlic…

The food being grown is for restaurant Bolenius around the corner, which cooks using local and organic ingredients. In exchange, we get to have a coffee break there and they spoil us with their cooking. Last times we had vegetarian bitterballen, and courgette and cheese tostis. This time we got Tarte Tatin right out of the oven… so delicious and beautifully presented!

Tarte Tatin at Bolenius

Tarte Tatin at Bolenius

The atmosphere with the volunteers is really laid back. There are people of all ages and origins, very friendly and open, and we all get on with our tasks: weeding, planting, picking… whilst learning to recognise plants and what parts of them you can eat etc.

Climbing peas

Climbing peas

To thank us for helping we each got to pick a fresh lettuce for our lunch. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten such a fresh lettuce before, straight from the garden. It tasted really good and it’s so amazing to know exactly where your food is coming from and in what conditions it has been grown.

Fresh lettuce

Fresh lettuce