Sunchokes are blooming in the pea patch right now. From up here in the cheap seats, one wonders just how these guys ever survived tough times, since it’s kinda late in the year for anything to be in flower. Come to find out sunchokes are fit to survive nuclear winter, so a little rain and cold weather isn’t much of a bother. In fact, ‘chokes are banned from Seattle’s community gardens owing to invasive tendencies; all they need to get going is a tiny slice of tuber left behind. Some got loose behind our food bank beds and I’ve been hacking them back all summer — the lanky stems nod and droop, stealing sunlight from our red and white chard.

A veteran gardener mentioned once that they used to dig up ‘chokes to donate but no one at the food bank knew what to do with them, so the plants have been left to naturalize and are spreading wildly at the northern edge of the garden. In the name of damage control, I plan to chow down on them this winter. And the eating’s actually pretty good, so long as they don’t cause you gastrointestinal discomfort. Check out last winter’s posts on sunchoke bisque and chicken roasted with sunchokes and apples if you’d like to contemplate a couple possibilities.