"In wildness is the preservation of the world." -H.D. Thoreau

Why eat from the wild? The answer is obvious to anyone who has felt the emotional uplift from the weight of a basket brimming with morel mushrooms, the earthy-sweet scent of digging Sassafras roots, or the heavy pulsing of a fish testing the limits of your fly rod.
There are a million reasons to eat wild, to get dirty, to taste fresh food. It is here where we connect to the Earth, our Ancestral past, immediate present and hope for a healthy future...

"Nothing else can build such awareness as surely and powerfully as practicing the ancient ecological art of humankind - foraging. It is not observation of, but rather participation in the phenomena of Nature that brings us to our greatest understanding of our place in the mosaic of life."
-Samuel Thayer The Forager's Harvest

Foraging in the Tip of the Mitten!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Full Moon Feasts: The Flower Moon

April 21st - May 20th 2012

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canidensis)
Foraging has always been something more than just gathering food. It is a complete immersion into the ebb and flow of the seasons. Just being out there and being open and receptive to the moods of the landscape can we learn so much about our place in the world. And few moments in nature are as dramatic as Springtime. The first flush of wildflowers can fill us with so much hope for warmth and growth - both personal growth and the lush vegetation of summer - and indigenous festivals the world over echo this sentiment. In the Atlantic Isles my ancestors would extinguish all hearth fires in a final farewell to winter and kindle a ceremonial "need-fire" on May Day to welcome the new season. In other Northern European villages "Winter," which was portrayed by a man on horseback dressed in furs and twigs, would be chased out of town by "Summer," a man dressed in lush vegetation and garlanded with wildflowers. Then villagers would go around town singing songs and collecting gifts of eggs and bacon from cottagers, all the while collecting wildflowers for their homes. These festivals served not only to preserve community resilience but they were believed to physically aid the triumph of the coming season of life over the season of death.

"The sight of the fresh green in brake and thicket, of vernal flowers blowing 
on mossy banks, of swallows arriving from the south, and of the sun mounting daily higher
in the sky, would be welcomed by them as so many visible signs that their enchantments
were indeed taking effect..."
                                                                                  -J.G. Frazer The Golden Bough

Monday, April 16, 2012

Full Egg Moon Recipe: Northwoods "Egg Rolls"

It has been a while since I have seen the Moon at night. The Full Egg Moon has passed and is waning. Birds all over are singing their spring songs and we even heard a Hermit Thrush last night on our 4th annual walk to view the dramatic mating display of the American Woodcock. If he is successful, around three females will nest in his territory and lay a clutch of up to twelve eggs. I pray for their prosperity; I love Woodcocks - both in the field and roasted on a bed of watercress. Habitat loss and herbicides are continuing to create a major population decline. At around a 55% decrease in the last 40 years, the future of the American Woodcock is questionable.

But hope is there. I am reminded every time I see a Trumpeter Swan sailing overhead. Once a common sight centuries ago, these Swans were over-hunted for their fashionable plumage and by 1932 their population in the continental United States was at only 26 individual birds (Grandlund, 1994). Through recovery efforts of places like the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, the count of Swans in Michigan alone 12 years ago was over 400 individuals. Part of the recovery program for both Swans and Loons has shifted in recent years to raising awareness of a growing threat to native waterfowl: the Mute Swan.