Mustard weed is a tasty nuisance in Valley
by Edythe Jensen - Feb. 23, 2009 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
If the price of salad greens gets you down, check out the yard weeds.
A variety of seasonal wild mustard is sprouting across the Valley thanks to recent rains and the species' hardiness. Landscapers and farmers grimace, but the plants' spicy leaves taste remarkably like the sandwich spread. Third-generation Chandler farmer Tom Bogle has been selling containers of it for $1 at the weekly downtown farmers market.
Brian McGrew, noxious-weed coordinator for the Arizona Department of Agriculture, isn't a big fan. Wild mustard is edible, he said, but it creates problems for farmers and cities that want to keep cultivated fields and vacant lots free of weeds. It isn't on the state's "noxious" list, but it is "a species of concern" because it spreads so rapidly and takes over disturbed soil where it can become a fire hazard when summer hits and greenery dies, McGrew said.
"We discourage people from trying to cultivate it, especially near crop land, but we don't have any regulatory authority to say 'No, you can't grow it,' " he said. "We won't come knocking down your door." [Those government nannies always think they know better then the people they rule over]
Homeowners associations and city code enforcers, however, could issue citations to mustard fans who refuse to mow or remove the plants. City laws and deed restrictions usually prohibit weed cultivation.
In the meantime, cash-strapped foodies can sample some on sandwiches or in salads - until the neighbors notice.
Friends donít let friends buy spices at American grocery stores!
Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes