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  • Writer's pictureKaren Seiger

Eating Beauty: Colorful Edible Flowers from Windfall Farms

Windfall Farm Mexican Mint Marigold

Windfall Farms Mexican Mint Marigold adds the flavor of Tarragon

We talk about the wonderful flavors of food. But occasionally, we spot something edible that is too beautiful to resist.

This morning, I walked through the Union Square Greenmarket and spotted such a variety of gorgeous edible flowers that I had to stop and learn more about them.

Windfall Farms is a producer of “unconventionally grown specialty produce” in Orange County, NY. They bring an eclectically wonderful range of leafy greens and other fine vegetables to Union Square on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and to the Sunday Greenmarket at 79th and Columbus on the Upper West Side. They cultivate fresh, local and non-sprayed food.

Today, Windfall Farms’ own JoAnna Kang offered me samples of some very tasty and very beautiful edible flowers. Not only were they colorful and pretty, but each one had its own particular flavor. Added to a salad, they not only make for a visually stunning dish, but also highly satisfying flavors.

Windfall Farms' JoAnna Kang at the Union Square Greenmarket

Windfall Farms’ JoAnna Kang at the Union Square Greenmarket

These no-spray roses have an intensely familiar and comforting floral scent. They can be used for jellies or syrups, or eaten whole on a savory or a sweet dish. I am thinking of vanilla cupcakes with a rose petal garnish.

Windfall Farm No-Spray Edible Roses

Windfall Farms No-Spray Edible Roses

Colorful orange, yellow and red nasturtiums add a lively kick to a salad. They can taste mildly peppery.

Windfall Farm Nasturium Flowers

Windfall Farms Nasturium Flowers

Hollyhocks are known for their medicinal qualities. They can be eaten raw, and they also make a soothing tisane.

Windfall Farm Hollyhocks

Windfall Farms Hollyhocks

My mother always bought armloads of gladiolus at the farmers market when we were kids. It never occurred to me to eat them. The substantial leaves are mild and fresh tasting, and the variety of colors will add a lot of life to any dish.

Windfall Farm Edible Gladiolus

Windfall Farms Edible Gladiolus

Dianthus is a type of carnation, which you can see. The flowers are surprisingly sweet, like clover flowers. They can be used raw in salads, or as dessert decorations. Or simply for color.

Windfall Farm Dianthus

Windfall Farms Dianthus

I found this excellent listing of edible flowers and how to use them on What’s Cooking America. Be inspired!

Note: Be careful eating any flowers you may find, even known edibles, unless you are certain they have not been sprayed with pesticides.

~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City



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