Foraging is not only an excellent way to supplement your diet, but it reduces your carbon footprint. I hear a lot of people complaining about climate change and foraging is a way to be some part of the solution. Eating whatever’s in your garden is the best way to put your money where your mouth is. Why have that salad sent from California when you have wood sorrel, dandelion greens, ramps, thistle roots, winter cress, burdock, plantain and wild lettuce on your property? Don’t spray your weeds; eat them. Some hardcore carnivores would be surprised to find that these foraged greens have any nutrition at all, but if you spend dark winters watching the deer battle on through a driving blizzard at zero degrees, knowing that they only eat vegetation, you have all the proof you need. Foraging is fun and hiking is the best exercise, gentle enough for everyone. Sorrel is has the taste of spinach with a lemony zing. Spruce tips, which are out now, are a little unusual with a taste reminiscent of citrus.
Mushrooms are fascinating once you find out what a vital part they play in the forest and they are only the tip of the iceberg. A mushroom is only the fruit of a much larger fungal body that can spread underground for acres.
Learn much more with these two foragers who will be guiding foraging hikes in the Catskills this month:
John Michelotti of Catskills Fungi
Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and engaging, John is the President of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Society and owner of Catskills Fungi. He was involved in studies to test whether fungi can clean up oil spills by breaking down hydrocarbons. He’s conducting a weekend workshop this weekend May 12th – 14th, in Phoenicia, New York, in which students are bound to come away with a load of useful information.
Rob Handel at the Cornell Co-operative Extension
Rob Handel, Tusha Yakovleva and Tracey Testo will guide a workshop at the Extension Education Center discovering wild edibles in your surroundings on May 13th. Participants will learn what is available on a seasonal basis as well as how to collect food without disturbing or endangering a plant population.
The Outside Institute
This fledgling operation was founded this year by Laura Silverman and last week, she conducted her maiden forage. She’s conducting her next foraging hike on May 16th.