Wild Foraging: Harvesting Food from the World Around You

Get in touch with nature through wild food foraging.

| October 2011 Web

  • "Farmstead Chef" whips up a quirky, homespun tale of how we can eat well, nourish our bodies, and restore the planet. Rediscover the benefits of homegrown food and homemade cooking, preserving the harvest, and stocking the pantry, all while building community.

The following is an excerpt from "Farmstead Chef" by John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist (New Society, 2011). The excerpt is from Chapter 3: Soups.

Even the celebrity chefs are doing it these days, hiring foragers to hit the farmers markets for what’s uber-fresh or unique, or heading to the rooftop gardens to cut the fresh herbs needed for their daily specials. Whole Foods Market now has foragers on their payroll.

But this isn’t what we mean by becoming a local forager. Our definition involves actively searching for your food or provisions, but not just in your backyard kitchen garden. Becoming a local forager is to rediscover which wild foods are abundant where you live: deer, moose, native black walnuts or wild mushrooms in the forests; rabbits, Jerusalem artichokes or ring-necked pheasant on the prairie; or crawfish, bluegill or bass in a lake nearby. It’s about responsibly savoring wild foods that have largely been eclipsed by more modern approaches to agriculture with annual row crops or livestock.

Wild foods tend to epitomize seasonal eating and can be defined by a season consisting of a matter of weeks — sometimes found only when certain weather conditions come together for an abundant harvest. Without a doubt, morel mushrooms are one such early spring delicacy that many landowners around us covet, their location kept secret to all but the closest of family relatives. On the West Coast, there’s the flavorful chanterelle mushrooms.



Wild food foraging goes beyond hunting for nuts, berries and wild edibles. Perhaps it appeals to our more primal urge to eat closer to the land and dine on whole foods as nature intended. It’s not just for the survivalist type, but also for those eager to return to a time and age where knowledge is not based on binary code. Wild foods distill genetic engineering to its essence: nature.

“Trying economic times are the great equalizer, and today people are hungry to take a journey outside the confines of cubicle life, to step off the grid, even if just once in a while, to get back in touch with their natural human roots,” says Georgia Pellegrini, author of Food Heroes and Girl Hunter.






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