Ground Cherry, Otto’s Brush Creek (Organic)
This is one of our favorite things to snack on while walking through the garden. Little, golden, husked fruit look like tiny tomatillos but have a deliciously fruity tropical flavor. Some compare them to peaches, others to pineapple. We have been told that you can make a delicious preserve out of them. We simply wait for fruit to fall off the plant when we’re sure they are ripe and eat them. Ground cherries have a long history in the garden and we found this strain growing semi-wild in our backyard, one of many interesting things that came along with the property when we moved here in 2009 (a list that also includes our beloved cat Meowstein, a 1930s dump truck in the creek, an opossum hide in the barn, and some awesome wallpaper in the kitchen). We suspect it’s been here for decades, as the farm’s previous owner, Otto Shockey, was an avid gardener. Every year a few plants pop up and take care of themselves. If you like a little wild character in your garden, these are perfect to have self-perpetuating alongside the other feral crops (we’re looking at you, burdock).
Sow indoors in flats in April. Keep warm and well-watered. Transplant seedlings into 4” pots when they have their first two true leaves. Transplant into the garden after danger of frost has passed, typically mid-May in western Oregon. Will self-seed.
Collect seeds from ripe fruit that have fallen from the plant. In a container with some water, smash with hands or food processor. Seeds will sink; add water to decant pulp until seeds are clean. Strain and dry in an airy location.