away from the Brassicas in Greece, fennel is used in side dishes, salads, pastas, and vegetable dishes; it’s a common ingredient in Italian sausage and meatballs; in northern Europe, it’s featured in rye breads. Fennel seed is an important spices in Indian (Kashmiri, Gujarati, and Bengali) cooking and is one of the five spices in Chinese Five Spice powder. A beauty in the garden, fennel produces a hollow stem from which feathery, green fronds and lacy, yellow flowers grow. Its white and pale green multilayered bulbs are used as a vegetable, whereas the fronds and flowers (and seeds they produce) are used as herbs. Delicious eaten raw, roasted or steamed, fennel bulb is especially tasty grated into salads. Roasted, it is better than any candy! The stem is often a little tough, but makes a great aromatic in stocks. Recipe of the week: shaved fennel salad This simple salad is my absolute favourite way to eat fennel. Refreshing, fragrant fennel pairs oh-so-well with the rich saltiness of parmesan and thyme imbues the dressing with a subtle earthiness. Kick this salad up a notch by serving it over a bed of peppery arugula. Perfection! By: Abra Snider, General Manager, Fresh City Farms Braised fennel pairs well with fish or scallops; sliced fennel combined with avocados and oranges makes a refreshing summer salad; grilled fennel drizzled with balsamic vinegar makes a great side dish. Fennel frawns can be used as an herb: in dressings, as a garnish, or to boost fennel flavour in any of the above suggested recipes. Fennel contains antioxidants, and is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It’s high in Vitamin C and a good source of fiber, Vitamin B, potassium, and folate. Store fennel for up to four days (for maximum nutritional value) in the crisper. Fun fact: fennel is a primary ingredient in absinthe! By: Abra Snider, General Manager, Fresh City Farms INGREDIENTS: • 1 fennel bulb, shaved paper thin with a mandoline or meat slicer • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil • zest of 1 lemon • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice • 1/8 tsp of chopped fresh thyme leaves • 4 tbsp shaved Parmesan cheese INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Trim stems off fennel (stems can be frozen until ready for use). Reserve the fronds. Cut bulb in half and remove the tough core. 2. Grate or very thinly slice the fennel. 3. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, zest, lemon juice, and thyme. Stir well. 4. Finely chop the fronds. 5. Toss the fennel with the dressing and sprinkle with parmesan and fronds. Optional: sprinkle with toasted pine nuts for some added texture and yumminess! Serves 2-4 his week, we’re breaking and befriending the similarly established Apiaceae family of plants, which include angelica, anise, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, cilantro, cumin, dill, hemlock, lovage, Queen Anne’s Lace, parsley, parsnip. Fennel originated in ancient India, Egypt, and China but was widely adopted in the Mediterranean. Today, the United States, France, India, and Russia are among the leading cultivators of fennel. In ye olden times, it was used medicinally: the Chinese used it to cure snake bites; in ancient Greece and Rome, it was used as a slimming aid; in Medieval times, it was hung from rafters to bring good luck and put in keyholes to keep out ghosts and evil spirits. As a culinary ingredient,