"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!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wild Edibles Potluck & Presentation

May is one of the months I eat the best. Not only the best food, but with the best of people - folks who like to forage and fish as much as I do and join me on forays without hesitation. This May was a great year for fish, both mullet and steelhead and we took a lot to the Bellaire Smokehouse to have smoked. But it is also a banner year for fiddleheads since we found two more wild plots of Ostrich ferns just popping forth from their rich woodland soil. We found many other edible greens on our woodland outings so I decided to share the bounty by hosting a potluck & presentation at the Martha Wagbo Farm and Education Center. Some friends and I harvested 12 different common wild edibles which I discussed during our 1st event held in our newly renovated Outdoor Classroom. Here are some pictures:

The plants discussed were just a handful of spring edibles that could be found in and around the property. They included Ox-eye daisy, Wild Leeks, Broad-leaved toothwort, Dandelion, Violets, Japanese Knotweed, Basswood greens, Ostrich fiddlehead fern, Day lily, Nettle, Spruce tips and Wild Parsnip.

We discussed each plant and sampled them raw (except the nettles!). Each one was a hit, I was surprised that there were no complaints about the strength of the toothwort. It is a powerful plant indeed. I tried to see what everyone's favorite was, but never got a final answer since each person raved about a number of plants.

There were a number of black morels hidden amongst the display and folks had the opportunity to test their "Morel vision" before we ventured "beyond the Morel." Most people's morel compass was pointed in the right direction and they saw some, but not all. 

After the presentation we feasted potluck style with a lot of the food prepared by Wagbo affiliates having the Wild edibles featured as a main dish. There was Japanese Knotweed bars, Dandelion muffins, Wild Leek aioli (thanks Jen!), Venison roasted in Wild leeks with fiddleheads and wild asparagus (thanks Jasmine & Richard!), Fritatta with wild leeks, nettle and fiddleheads (way to go Natalya!) a wild salad of basswood, violets, dandelions and pickled leeks, as well as dandelion jelly on toast and pickled dandelion buds by yours truly, and a wild leek potato soup made by the folks from Iron Horse Farm in Ellsworth. A number of newcomers brought a variety of delicious treats as well (thanks y'all!)

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