Last month I tipped the ends of the flowering fennel in my friends’ yard into a baggie to shake loose the bright yellow pollen. If you’ve never had fennel pollen fresh, do try it, the scent is absolutely gorgeous and much finer than the dried seed. As an added incentive, just a few hours later a friend invited me to an upcoming porchetta feast. Surely some psychic connection nudged his menu planning and guest list at the moment I had the precious and necessary pollen in hand. Maybe this will work for you too.
Today I took this photo of feral fennel in bloom growing by the roadside in northern Alexander Valley, south of Cloverdale. It’s everywhere now, although you’ll want to do your foraging farther away from auto traffic.
If that seems like too much work, Sonoma County wild gathered fennel pollen is $12 per 0.5 ounce at Cook's Spice farmers market booth or online. Cook’s Spice sells at the Sunday morning Windsor certified farmers market and the Wednesday night Santa Rosa Downtown Market.
For more ideas on collecting fennel pollen and cooking tips, here’s a link to Sonoma County Master Gardeners on “Fabulous Fennel”.
Santa Rosa Downtown Market
637 1st St, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, CA