Ode to a Tomato

by Delma Mindel

Nestled in my hand, wet with dew
reflecting secret pleasures,
I inhale your aroma.
Elusive musky scent
of earth and succulence.
If you were a planet suspended coolly into space
we’d peer through our telescopes
and marvel at your luminosity.

Backyard Delights: Mulberries

by Carrie Ciula

When walking through a forest~ or any other natural place that radiates abundance~ I feel most alive. I know that I am far from alone when I write that I deeply sense the power behind and artistry within the way ‘eco~pieces’ fit so perfectly into a rich and dynamic whole. I lack an adequate description for how this harmony puts me at ease……

While enjoying the nutritionally rich ‘sparkle’ of a salad that was collected five minutes before meal time (when much of the produce at the market was grown a month ago) and curtailing grocery bills are both notable benefits of foraging~ one of the greatest treasures of collecting and eating wild foods is of a soulful and mindful nature. There is something about picking and noshing on wild plants that ‘charms in’ the most discerning of onlookers. Even folks who sport a serious disinterest in nature will toss out a dozen questions when they spot you, trail side, plucking up an ‘offensive’ weed and sticking it in your mouth. This intrigue is more than just inquisitive criticism; it is an outward expression of a deeper, more intuitive, nudging. Foraging reminds us that our food is not created in a factory or a supermarket. It is created by our Earth…and it reconnects us in a deep and sustaining way~ going far beyond the boundaries of physical nutrition. No advancement in science can make this variety of beautiful connection obsolete. While the below is about dining directly from Earth’s garden, if you have skills at reading between the lines, you’ll recognize a very sincere plea for less consumption and more self~reliance. I encourage all of us to do all that we can do to nourish ourselves, our children the planet that nourishes us all……
……dig up, dig in, ‘re~wild’ yourself…..and enjoy!!!


I grew up picking black raspberries, and occasionally found interest in the deep purple gems hanging just overhead- but, it wasn’t until very recently that I took a serious look at these often unnoticed, untouched ‘beauts.’
There are two common mulberry tree species (plus many ‘off shoot’ hybrids) here in the U.S.~ the native red mulberry and the Asian white mulberry. The red mulberry, which reaches a height of about sixty-five feet, has rough, reddish~brown bark and the leaves are rounded, toothed- some oval shaped- some lobed. The fruit, also oval in shape, hangs from a thin, green fruit stalk and is composed of many very dark purple berries (when ripe.) Each little berry has its own seed. Red mulberry trees will be the ones that you are more likely to come across while foraging.

With the thought of beginning a silk industry in mind, white mulberry trees were imported from Asia during the 1800’s. Being too much work, this idea was quickly abandoned…though, not before this fertile tree swept its way across much of America. As the name implies, white mulberries are white with clearly visible black seeds in the center of each tiny berry.

It is not surprising to me at all that these little berries are being sold in stores as a superfood! As it turns out, mulberries mean biz~i~nass in the nutrition department. They are fairly high in protein- one handful contains about 3 grams of protein (for comparison- bananas are about 4% protein and mulberries are about 11%.) They are a sweet source of vitamin C with about one handful (I don’t necessarily dig the ‘counting’ game when it comes to food, but when I must- it is usually by the ‘handful’;)…it would be a 28-30 gram serving) containing around 130% of the recommended daily amount. They’re also a decent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, potassium and fiber.
Mulberries are one of those foods that I believe are best enjoyed, solo~style…..still, I’ll post a recipe for a fantastic smoothie and mulberry crisp below…….

Wild Mulberry Celery Smoothie
1 cup wild mulberries
1 banana (omit if you have lower glycemic needs)
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped (again, lessen or leave out for less sugar)
1 cup nut or seed milk (hemp, almond, coconut milk, etc…)
3-4 stalks of celery
Blend until smooth Enjoy!

Mulberry Crisp
Fruit Layer:
4 cups wild mulberries

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon (about 1 dropperful) liquid stevia (or 1 tablespoon honey)

Crumble Topping:
3/4-1 cup coconut flour
4 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 dropperful) liquid stevia
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
(can add in ground nuts/seeds and/or oats……)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine fruit layer ingredients in a bowl and then pour the mixture into a fitting casserole dish.
3. Combine the crumble topping ingredients (mix in coconut flour, slowly, until reach ‘crumble’ consistency~ evenly distribute crumble mixture on top of fruit layer.
4. Bake for 40 minutes.
(Serve hot or cold)

The one rule, sans exception, of foraging; KNOW YOUR PLANT. While the benefits of eating wild plants are significant and very worthy~ there is no room for error. You can, and should, take all of the time that you need to get to securely know a plant before consuming it….in a way that you can comfortably and positively identify it 100% of the time.

Carrie Ciula is a writer, educator and mind/body therapist, focusing on health and sustainability through indigenous nutrition and vibrational medicine. Learn more at www.carrieciula.com.

Recipe of the Month: Five Foods for the Summer Season

Instead of an actual recipe this month, I thought I would share a list of great “cooling” summer foods and their benefits given to me from one of our Village Voice volunteer contributors, Carrie Ciula… Enjoy!

5 foods for the summer season that cool, nourish and detoxify the body

1. Watermelon

The cooling qualities of watermelon make it wonderful for a quick and easy summer detox staple- add the ‘delicious’ factor into the mix, and you’re sailing along with a warm weather cleansing trifecta! With positive effects on the kidney, bladder, heart, stomach, colon, liver, watermelon works to cleanse (nearly) the entire body! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, it cools the energetic channels in the body that are dominated by fire- making. It’s therapeutically helpful in cases of urinary tract infections. For those who cannot tolerate high sugar foods, watermelon juice can be fermented (using the same cultures and process as kefir) into a refreshingly fizzy (sugarfree) drink.

2. Sprouts

Sprouts are, literally, bursting with life. Sprouting is the natural process transforming a dormant seed to a living seed. Grains, seeds and legumes that have been sprouted sport an impressive amount of precious enzymes– and aside from (in general) being important to digestion, enzymes play a role in the ongoing process of detoxification. Sprouts are rich in plant based protein and are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. To top it all off, sprouts offer an easy way to keep fresh, inexpensive food in your home, year round.

3. Cucumber

Largely due to faddish eye covering cucumber pics strewn about nearly every magazine, few of us are a stranger to the cooling potential of cucumber. Chinese medicine believes that cucumber has a cleansing effect on the blood and clears internal heat from the body~ which is helpful for inflammatory conditions…it also believes cucumbers have a soothing effect on the nerves and aid in the treatment of insomnia. While this cooling fruit’s thirst quenching nature makes it a great summer treat eaten alone~ it is equally incredible juiced, and/or infused into a pitcher of water- in the same way many people do with lemon or lime.

4. Aloe Vera

There is a reason that bottles of Aloe Vera gel line grocery store shelves every summer season. If you have ever sliced open an aloe leaf to slather it over a sunburn, you’re already familiar with its cooling savvy. Taken internally, aloe reduces heat and has intestinal stimulating abilities~ for this reason, when used mindfully, it can be an effective treatment for constipation. While good quality, organic bottled aloe can be found, it is best fresh- filleted or scooped- straight from the leaf, with all of its cooling constituents entirely intact.

5. Purslane

Ahhh…..purslane. ((Love!)) Purslane is a special plant~ rare in its qualities, but not in its findings. It is actually a very common and beneficial ‘weed.’ What is extraordinarily brilliant about purslane is its omega 3 content- unusual for a land vegetable, as most omega 3 comes from oily fish and microalgae.
Like many of the other hot weather friendly foods, purslane is a contender when it comes to cooling inflammation in the body. It is a potent detoxifier and effectively dissipates internal heat. Make an omega 3~rich meal by adding a handful of purslane~ fresh from the yard~ into your favorite salad or smoothie.

Summer Nights

by Heather Lusk

An unmistakable pop-pop-pop followed by twinkling colorful lights dancing across the night sky can only mean one thing – July fireworks. The longstanding tradition of watching fireworks from Lion’s Park will continue on Monday, July 4, at dusk. The evening will commence at 5 p.m. with a new event – a corn hole tournament with half of the proceeds going to the Lion’s Club and the other half to the winning team. Teams may enter for $10 by emailing markw.lionsclub@gmail.com or may register at the park. The July 4 event is the second largest fundraiser for the Lion’s Club with this year’s funds likely being earmarked for the park’s electrical upgrades already underway.

A four-man band of brothers, The Marlins will perform during the evening. The Lion’s Club will raise additional funds by selling some favorite summer foods including ice cream, snow cones and hot dogs. Also present will be a large group of vendors selling everything from elephant ears and Kettle Korn to Friendly Tavern tenderloins and Chick-fil-A. There will be an area to entertain the kids complete with a bounce house, face painting, clowns mascots and more. Traditional contests like watermelon eating, a three-legged race and more will allow participants to win prizes. For close parking the Lion’s Park lot opens at 4 p.m. and requires a $5 donation.

The previous night, Westfield Rocks the Fourth (which technically will be rocked on the third), from 4-10 p.m. at Asa Bales Park located at 205 W. Hoover St. in Westfield. The evening includes a Battle of the Bands competition, a car show of both classic and modern varieties, and concludes with a fireworks display.

After the fireworks of the fourth enjoy the glittering skies of nature. July 9th at Hamilton County’s Strawtown Koteewi Park two astronomers will teach a group of star gazers about constellations, stars and planets, and provide some insight into quasars and black holes. Attendees may wish to bring their own binoculars or telescope, although two telescopes will be available that evening. The program meets near the Taylor Center of Natural History and lasts for one to two hours. While ideal for adults, it’s also recommended for families with school age children. Bug spray is also recommended.

Gather ‘round the campfire at Cool Creek Park, 156th Street and Meridian, Wednesday evenings the entire month of July. Each week at 7 p.m. families can learn about different animals including reptiles, tarantulas and neighborhood critters. Marshmallows and sticks are provided so families may wish to bring along chocolate and graham crackers with their chairs or blankets and bug spray. The campfire location is on the north side of the park.

Finally listen to the Symphony Under the Stars on Sunday, July 17 at Wild Air Farms (7400 Hunt Club Road). The concert marks the first time the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has performed outdoors in Zionsville. Musical selections include Cole Porter and Hoagy Carmichael. Tickets may be purchased at IndianapolisSymphony.org, the ISO box office or at several local businesses. The concert will close with an unmistakable pop-pop-pop and twinkling colors dancing across the night sky, reminding us all what makes July so special.

Summer Camp?

For those thinking about a few weeks of camp for their kids now that summer… and boredom… has set in, I found a few one week summer camps sure to please! You can check our April and May Village Voice Newsletters on our “The Village Voice” webpage to find a fairly complete list of all summer camps offered in Zionsville this summer! It was so large I split it over two months.

Mythology Rocks!, Zionsville Town Hall Community Room 1100 W. Oak St. (Grades 5-9)
Designed specifically for children entering grades 5-9 in the fall. Everyone plays a part during this intensive, weeklong day camp where participants will collaborate to stage, rehearse, and present theatrical scenes inspired by stories from classic Greek mythology – presented along with classic rock music – in a performance for family and friends at the end of each camp week.
Mythology Rocks! is a fun program that encourages team building to achieve common goals. Campers will have the opportunity to build on existing acting and musical theatre performance skills through creative expression while developing real-world skills-like self-discipline and self-confidence. Camp is from 9AM – 3PM July 25-29 ONLY Cost: $180 per student. Register online at www.offmainstreetplayers.com

Adventure Camp, Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville 1575 Mulberry St
Club members will train with expert outdoorsmen throughout the week, then go on an overnight camping trip. July 25-30 ONLY. Go to www.bagcoz.org or call 317-873-6670

Indiana Pacers Basketball Camp, Boys and Girls Club of Zionsville 1575 Mulberry St (ages 7-16)
The camp, which will feature all-time Pacers great Darnell Hillman, will include daily skill competitions, 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 games and more. Each camper will also receive a ticket to a 2011-12 Pacers home game, a skills packet, a Pacers tee-shirt and their very own basketball. August 1-5th ONLY from 9am to 2:30pm. Register online through the Pacers link on our home page

Horseback lessons and clinics, Irish Acres Stables 475 South 1200 East
English and Western riding lessons, contesting, and hunter and hunter/jumper instructions are available, as well as problem solving and training horses. Clinics are also offered, so please check the website periodically for scheduled events. Call 317-586-7833, email melisssa@irishacresstable.com or go to www.irishacrestablesstable.com

Summer Cheer Camp, Zionsville West Middle School Gymnasium (entering PreK to 4th grades)
You’ll have tons of fun with the ZCHS Cheerleaders while learning 3 dances, 4 cheers, 8 chants and proper jump and motion technique. Each participant will also receive an award, a hair bow, and camp dance music CD. There will be a performance for parents at the end of camp. July 13th and 14th from 9am to 12pm. Register online at www.zcs.k12.in.us and click Registration Information on Summer Camps. Cost $85

Summer Fun Reading Packets, Eagle Elementary website (entering 1st to 5th grades)
For a little at home fun and learning, try the Summer Fun Reading Packets on the Eagle Elementary webpage… cms.zcs.k12.in.us/eag/

Humorous Tales from the Village: Basement Terrors

by Beth Bugbee

I’m not a fan of basements. I never have been and probably never will be. So when I moved to my home in the village, my plan was to store nothing in my basement but seasonal decorations. If I didn’t have a place for it my living space, I didn’t need it. So, after a garage sale and many trips to the Goodwill store, I had gotten rid of much of my stuff.

My “new” basement is very primitive. It has a Michigan wall (which I’m still not sure what that means) and the rafters are logs that still have bark. There is a round room which no one can explain what use it had. All in all, it is an area to be avoided. I do venture below to get my holiday decorations, but I am always accompanied by someone. The furnace/air conditioner worker descends into the creepy area to service my equipment. I bravely flip the light switch at the top of the stairs.

On a lovely summer day, I was talking to my neighbor about interesting past happenings in the village. He has lived in his house for over fifty years and is a wealth of knowledge. He explained how the former owner had called him over to get his advice on what the hundreds of red dots in the basement’s open crawl space could be. He didn’t have any idea, but offered to come over to take a look. Down to the basement they went and to their surprise, he informed her that her basement was infested with rats! Yes, RATS!!! At this point, I could feel them crawling all over me at the same time they were making their awful squeaky sound. Could I ever sleep in the house again?

My neighbor, not sensing my terror, went on to say that the village dump was located in the backyard. When it was closed years ago, the rats no longer had a food supply and moved to the (my) basement. The town sent out people to rid the basement of rats and that was that. THAT WAS THAT! Are you nuts? I am convinced generations of rats have been reared in my basement and are still lurking there today. Who knows? There could be rat family reunions in my basement every year.

I love my home and Zionsville, so I have come to terms with my “over the top” thoughts. But I must admit, the Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations haven’t made it up from below in a long time. I have steeled myself to bring the Christmas stuff up, but that is only when I invite a few friends to precede me into the bowels of my home. With a few more years of therapy, I’m sure I can overcome my phobia. You think?

Aging in Place Announcement

“If it takes a village……….”

Many of us have heard the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. That may also apply to the care of an aging population. Beginning in 2011 and continuing thru 2019, ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 daily. A large study done in 2010 revealed that 85-90% of those people desire to remain in their own homes as they age.

There is a “village movement” in the US that has been going on for a decade. It began in Boston in 2001, and is called Beacon Hill Village. It was the start of an innovative model that has spread across the United States. This model consists of a nonprofit membership organization for residents that are 55 years and up who desire to “age in place”. Membership fees provide an individual with options that will help them remain in their homes longer, as well as opportunities for social connection and educational programs.

Tina Voelker, a resident of Zionsville and healthcare professional for 28 years, is bringing this concept to the Zionsville area. She is currently planning an informational meeting for late July(date and location to be announced). If you are interested in learning more, email Tina  so she can keep you posted on the meeting date. If you would like more information sooner, feel free to call her.

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