People are paying big bucks for some weeds that can commonly be found in many people's backyards. Dandelion greens were a $2 million market in the year that ended in March, according to FreshLook Marketing, which tracks produce sales at supermarkets. Other edible weeds that are being snapped up by folks looking for fresh greens are purslane and lamb's quarters, which one Indiana farm sells for $3 a pound, according to the Wall Street Journal (subscription required).
As interest grows in finding organic and local produce, wild greens are showing up on many menus. Certain weeds may even offer some health benefits. A guy mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article apparently didn't blink twice at paying $9 a pound for dandelion greens. All I can say is, "Hey, buddy, I've got some dandelions and wild onions taking over my backyard if you're interested."
I've often heard that dandelions and other wild greens are good for salads, but I've never been brave enough to venture into my backyard and forage for them. People in the know don't recommend that folks who are new to weed-eating forage for the plants on their own the first time, since some may be poisonous or may need to be cooked first. They recommend using a knowledgeable guide. I like the idea of getting some expert-type to take a walk through my property to see which naturally growing plants might actually be edible.
Apparently it wasn't uncommon for people in the U.S. to eat wild onions, pokeweed, sorrel and other wild plants up until World War II, when more processed foods began gaining popularity. Also, eating weeds was considered to be kind of low-class, which is pretty ironic since many of the foodies picking weeds to add to their diet these days tend to be more affluent. But due to their increasing popularity with some chefs and America's growing interest in frugality and "recession cooking," I'm sure we can expect to see more wild greens getting space in supermarkets and farmers markets.