Permaculture Pancake Polyculture


Updated at the Mosaic Farm Perennial Plan Design Charette in Easthampton, MA; originially composed at a Permaculture Design course in Vermont!

Here’s the species – function list :

Long-term overstory
• sugar maple (Acer saccharum) – syrup
• black walnut (Juglans nigra) – nuts, syrup
• shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) – nuts, syrup
• black birch (Betula lenta) – syrup, tea
• sweet-acorn oaks (Quercus spp.) – acorn flour for pancakes!
• chestnut (Castanea spp) – chestnut flour for pancakes! (see for a great selection)

Selected Understory
• pawpaw (Asimina triloba) – banana custard-flavored fruit, shade tolerant
• gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) – tasty tart fruit, shade tolerant
• currant (Ribes spp.) – tasty tart fruit, shade tolerant
• thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) – tasty tart fruit, shade tolerant

Selected Animals
• chicken (Gallus domesticus) – eggs (for the pancake batter!)
• pig (Sos scrufula) – bacon! And fat for frying the pancakes!

This arose from our discussion of mixed-species sugar-bushes. My research & experimentation this spring shpowed that black walnut (Juglans nigra) trees can be tapped and boiled for a DELICIOUS syrup, and friends inform me that Hickories (Carya spp.) can also be tapped. Add these to the traditional sugar maple (Acer saccharum), other maple species (Acer spp.), and birch (Betula spp., especially B. lenta), and we’re looking at a significantly more diverse stand of locally-appropriate sugar production!

Add in the acorns and chestnuts for a delicious and sweet perennial starch, mixed with eggs from chickens free-ranging in the understory, and your batter is coming together. Then you can use bacon fat from the acorn & chestnut-finished pigs to oil the pan and fry your pancakes. Topped off with sauces from your understory fruit production (pawpaws, gooseberries, currants, thimbleberries), this is an incredible perennial meal.

Let’s step beyond the relative monoculture of sugar maples! And go even farther for some delicious perennial permaculture pancakes.

2 thoughts on “Permaculture Pancake Polyculture

  1. Ahhh how awesome! It’s not far off from being a model ecosystem either!

    If you plant all of this at the edge of pasture, you could have a glass of raw (goat or cow) milk to wash it all down.

  2. I’d add in spicebush (Lindera benzoin) in the understory for tea and spicing for the syrups.

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