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Photo: Steffan Hacker

Edible Campus

When George Ellmore, associate professor of biology, wants the fixings for a tasty salad or stir-fry, he often looks for them along untrimmed sidewalks or in the shade of a mailbox. Such spots, together with hillsides too steep for lawnmowers and corners hidden from weed whackers, become “half-wild places, little places of discovery,” he says.

To show off Tufts’ own kitchen garden hidden in plain sight, Ellmore leads popular tours around the Medford/Somerville campus. Students and community members sample a variety of seasonal treats. There’s Queen Anne’s lace, from which carrots were bred: its white roots have an unmistakable carroty flavor. Purslane, a succulent green available in July and August, is like spinach, only fresher and less bitter, according to Ellmore. Another green, peppergrass, combines the flavors of horseradish and radishes, and daylily buds, which are most abundant in June, taste like a cross between green beans and asparagus. Ellmore eats his way around the Hill in a video at bit.ly/edible_campus.

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