Wild Edibles Foraging Workshop
We are fortunate in the Appalachian Mountain Club chapters to be able to apply for funds for Special Projects like trail work and conservation-oriented events. We recently received funds for a conservation workshop like this, foraging for wild edibles in the heart of the Hilltowns.
Earthworks Programs offer classes and workshops that are experiential and teach true sustainability… how to live with nature in a way that benefits us and our environment. This creates a natural balance in our lives. Some of the foundational skills include: fire making, natural cordage, animal tracking, wilderness living skills, wildcrafting, wild edibles and more.
AMC participants lucky enough to be able to attend came away with skills in correct identification of wild edibles and medicines you can find right outside your back door. We learned a bit about how and when to harvest by season and in what habitat to seek out our favorite wild edibles. Additionally, we learned how to harvest with intention; keeping in mind the importance of the responsibility we have as foragers and earth stewards.
We started out by learning about the wealth of plants in the “edges”, between forest and field, or next to the barn or shed. We found that we could eat thistle (known as survival celery), and Autumn Olive, two edible plants we normally consider invasive. Therefore, while we can eat them and perhaps make a delicious frappe from the red berries, we need to be careful not to let these plants spread.
Some of us were surprised to find that we could eat Burdock roots, which you can shred and eat like potatoes, and sumac berries for lemonade (early in the season). We trekked through the forest in search of ramps (wild garlic), and found a good patch of them to take home. We were helping to spread this good native plant, which seeds in clusters that fall while harvesting the delicious root.
After harvesting, we took turns at the hand-cranked apple press and pounded a mortar and pestle, which gave us some delicious apple and hickory nut juice. Frank Grindrod, our instructor, said at the end that it’s all about connection - with neighbors, people and animals.
We will be presenting a more detailed presentation about this at Noble View Outdoor Center later in the fall, and hope to bring Frank as well. He had also shared some animal tracking knowledge with us, and might be able to do more if there happens to be snow on the ground. Stay tuned!