Image by Connie Harclerode
FOOD GLORIA'S FOOD - August 2016 - Kansas City
Taste the Sights - Smell the Scents
Surprise, surprise…now sprouting in the nation’s largest edible landscape our own Powell Gardens producing a knock-out bounty of fruits and veggies
By Gloria Gale
Barbara Fetchenheir is passionate about ‘her’ garden, Powell Garden’s Heartland Harvest Garden she claims as ‘her baby.’
In the massive 4-season garden, she has coddled an eye-popping array of vegetation dug into 12-acres of superbly managed plots, orchards, and vineyards. There’s so much on view, it’s truly boggling.
As the interpretive mistress of the crops for over 20 years, Barbara is a walking encyclopedia of horticulture. She’ll readily admit the joy of this garden, situated at the Missouri barn and silo, is the pleasure of nurturing the lush plants from bulb to stem, seedling to bloom.
A sweet path through the tangle
“What most people don’t realize is that the garden is edible,” says Fetchenheir who demonstrates various topics from spring through late summer with the Fresh Bites program.
As an enthusiastic leader, she’ll show you how to make delicious salad dressings, lead a tasting tour, or whip up a recipe for a fistful of rhubarb and horseradish.
And, throughout the journey, there’s always another tendril to inspect.
She’ll urge you to walk along the brick paths to inspect the burgeoning orchards heavy with fruit. Growing happily you’ll find Asian pear, hardy kiwis, and apple, peach, cherry, or fig trees.
Densely planted raised beds feature onions, jewel-like lettuces, cabbages, peas, and kale. Potatoes, tomatoes, rhubarb, and garlic mingle with wild plums, currants, raspberries, and blueberries.
Just a stone’s throw lays a plot of native wheat.
Fragrant herbs border the walkways just south of the Missouri Barn where, enclosed by a wattle fence, various fruit trees, a mini-vegetable patch, and a quick-pick of hardy herbs give visiting chefs an easy way to enhance the Garden Chef series cooking demonstrations.
Not far, a true Mediterranean style vineyard appears. Visit in late winter and the vines are sleeping but come back in summer and grapes are ripening.
Carry on towards two inventive author’s gardens designed by celebrated garden authors Rosalind Creasy and Barbara Damrosch. They bring their great ideas to life in gardens that demonstrate their personal philosophies of edible gardening.
All the while, it’s a heyday for you the visitor who, like me, never imagine such sweet beginnings pushing up.
In addition to the Harvest Garden, Powell Gardens in entirety is an absolutely dream.
For the price of admission, you’ll get the Harvest Gardens plus a weekend’s worth of exploring other parts of the surrounding gardens. By all accounts, there’s an overwhelming display of nature’s best that waits.
Attend an event like the Under a Harvest Dinner, Booms and Blooms spectacular July 4th celebration, Chapel or Barn concerts, Festival of Butterflies, or rare plant sale among just a few.
See if you can find Barbara Fetchenheir to offer an up a sampling of her favorites species. I bet she’ll gush and ultimately, you will too.
Powell Gardens, 1609 N.W. U.S. Highway 50 | Kingsville, MO 64061 | 816-697-2600
Amazing Rhubarb Slushie
This recipe can easily be made smaller if you do not want to use 12 cups of rhubarb. However, if you do have a lot of rhubarb, Barb recommends making one large batch at a time. Simply store any excess in the freezer so you can enjoy another refreshing treat later.
12 cups chopped, fresh rhubarb
9 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 box (85-gram size) raspberry gelatin
1 6-ounce can frozen lemonade concentrate
Carbonated beverage of your choice (ginger ale, Sprite, etc.)
In a large pan, bring the chopped rhubarb and water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and allow the rhubarb to simmer until tender (about 20-30 minutes). Add sugar and stir to dissolve.
Pour the mixture through a colander or sieve into a large, freezer-safe bowl. Add the gelatin and frozen lemonade; stir until well combined. Cover mixture with a tight fitting lid and freeze.
To serve, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the slush into a glass and add the carbonated beverage. Enjoy!
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Kansas City writer, producer, and photostylist Gloria Gale is a sleuth when it comes to discovering interesting features for the media.
As a native she's compiled a burgeoning collection of editorial features on food, travel and lifestyle for national and local magazines, books, individuals, and corporate clients.
Most recently, Gloria profiled area restaurants as a columnist for 435 Magazine and was one of KCUR's Food Critics radio program.
Want to know where to find the best tastes in town? Contact Gloria: firstname.lastname@example.org