foraging talk & cooking demo

Early in May, the oaks, hickories, maples, and other trees, just putting out amidst the pine woods around the pond, imparted a brightness like sunshine to the landscape, especially in cloudy days, as if the sun were breaking through the mists and shining faintly on the hill-sides here and there.

/Walden/

I wanted to share a few photos from the talk I held at Miskovski Landscaping in Falmouth, Mass two weekends ago on Mother's Day. It came together so nicely, and I was able to collect and chat about a bunch of delicious spring plants and leaves and shoots. Afterwards, with everyone's help to bring it all together, I served Wild Ramp Gnudi, essentially Italian dumplings very similar to gnocchi, but with flour instead of potato. The ramp filled gnudi went over a foraged green salad and had a spruce tip dipping cream yogurt on the bottom of the plate. I liked how all the flavors came together in the dish and it was a warm snack for a cold and rainy Spring day. Thanks to all who came and braved that wild weather! 

The ingredients I gathered and talked about were Japanese Knotweed, Nettle, Garlic Mustard, Wintercress, Milkweed shoots, Yarrow, Ground Ivy, Ramps, and some others. It was so sweet to see the the turnout of people, and especially heartwarming to see the kids take such a huge interest in wild food. It was wonderful to share knowledge with all ages, but the little ones soak up information like a sponge. It is my hope that they will continue to stay interested in wild food and continue to learn its importance in our diets and as forms of healing and medicine. After all, if we can reinstill this teaching and art in the younger generations, it creates more meaningful awareness for nature and all it has to offer. Here are a few photos from foraging shindig held at Jenny's Edibles and Blooms, a wonderful place in Cape Cod to get all your garden starters. Jen and Paul are such lovely people and I highly recommend visiting them at 393 Brick Kiln Road in Falmouth, Mass. 

 

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humble beginnings

Tricholoma magnivilare, commonly known as Matsutake,  my favorite foraged mushroom.

Tricholoma magnivilare, commonly known as Matsutake, my favorite foraged mushroom.

I was given the awesome opportunity to forage for a restaurant in Wellfleet, MA this past Spring through Fall on Cape Cod. Michael and Jesse are a husband and wife who co-own an incredible little sea shack right on Wellfleet harbor called Ceraldi. While it is a sea shack on the outside, the inside is totally different. The second you walk in, a calm elegance comes over you. It is the vibe they've created with the help of the hum of the ocean, which can be heard when the door opens and closes. It is dimly lit at night with a bar that wraps around the center of the restaurant boasting front row seats to the seven courses that are plated in front of the patrons just behind the bar. There are also a handful, no more, of private tables for more of an intimate dining experience. Michael, the chef, makes sure to greet each party before it 'all' begins. He talks the patrons through the evening's menu, calling the farmers by their first names, and recalling a story or two about the farm, farmer, or ingredient. The experience is the same for the workers as it is for the patrons- it is thoughtful, beautiful food. 

While working at Ceraldi, the editor of an online food magazine came in and ate, and was intrigued with some of the more unusual ingredients on her plate, which were the ones that were hunted for, gathered, foraged. She asked me to write an article for the her magazine The Cook's Cook, and I would love to share it with you as it was published in the bi-monthly February/March issue. This article is the humble beginning of the wildgoods. I hope you enjoy it, cheers!

See the full article by clicking here.

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forager field-notes, number one

forager field-notes, number one

above, a rosette of Laetiporus cincinnatus, cape cod foraged, informally known as chicken-of-the-woods for its chicken-y fungus flavor.

above, a rosette of Laetiporus cincinnatus, cape cod foraged, informally known as chicken-of-the-woods for its chicken-y fungus flavor.

I love that the many realms of food- farming, foraging, cooking, eating- are experiential. Each is an art form, a sacred act, each is unique, all are interconnected, and a vital part of living a healthy life. Nowadays, our food choices determine a healthy life, whereas before they dictated a tribe's survival. The act of growing and collecting our food is a lost art for so many people, and eating the food that is available to us in this day and age is automatic, robotic, and very often taken for granted. However, I believe other farmers, foragers, chefs, and lovers and appreciators of food have been working hard to rekindle the art of food. The farmers are allowing their bodies to become a part of the earth they are working with. Foragers are rediscovering animalistic instincts for hunting and gathering. Chefs are passionate and are playing with available ingredients that are dropped off by local farmers and foragers at their backdoors. And lovers and appreciators of food are actually grateful to sit down and eat, curious and thoughtful about the raw and final products that went into a meal, learning to distinguish flavors and spices and ingredients. After all, our understanding of food has not been lost for long, but it must be experienced, remembered, stories must be told, and recipes must be recounted. Take part in one or all of these acts and understand you are participating in a celebration of nature.

People are always asking me what it's like to be out picking wild ingredients on my own in the woods. I find it to be my meditation time, my moment of reflection. Sometimes I bring my dog. Each time I fill my basket, I feel grateful for my knowledge in wild food. It is a wonderful practice. 

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