September 7th-9th Greenhorns and Eat Local Eastport present: Forest Mycology and Wild Edibles in the Maine Woodlands And Wildlands with Russ Cohen and Peter McCoy.
Join Russ Cohen and Peter McCoy for a weekend in the Maine wildlands and woodlands. Russ and Peter will teach us how to interact with and feed ourselves from the wild world around us – sustainably.
On Friday evening, we will all come together to learn the theoretical aspects of foraging for wild plants and mushrooms, this includes processes for identifying wild plants in the region as well as instructions for sustainable harvesting of wild edibles. Maine is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants. Many of these species are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. These include native species like Black Raspberry and Shagbark Hickory, non-native weeds like Burdock and Chicory, and exotic invasive species like Dame’s Rocket and Japanese Knotweed. The Pine Tree State is also home to dozens of species of edible mushrooms. Russ’ evening talk will cover at least four dozen of the tastiest species the region has to offer. These include species everyone knows well, like Daisies and Dandelions, plus species they may never have even heard of, like Calamus and Carrion Flower. At least a dozen of the easier-to-recognize edible mushrooms will be covered too, from Morels in the spring, to Black Trumpets in the summer, to Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms in the fall. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging. Russ will also include a few details regarding some native edible plants he has grown successfully from seed, and the partnerships he has made with conservation groups and others to add edible native plants to their landscapes. Last but not least, Russ will accompany his talk with handouts and several foraged goodies made with wild ingredients. There will be ample time for questions and discussions.
On Saturday Peter will begin with a talk and presentation focused on mushrooms. He will cover Fungal biology, ecology, and cultural history of mushrooms, Mushroom and lichen identification and wild harvesting ethics, tactics for measuring forest health with lichens and mushrooms, and habitat regeneration with fungi. Later in the day Russ will lead a guided wild plant and edible walk. We will spend the afternoon exploring the Downeast landscapes in search of edible wild plants and putting the theory that we learn on Friday and Saturday morning into action. While it’s never possible to predict exactly what types of wild edibles that we might encounter, given the time of year, Russ expects to encounter and share the delicious details about at least two dozen species. These could include edible farm weeds like Lamb’s Quarters and Purslane, edible roadside weeds like Curly Dock and Wild Parsnip, edible coastal plants, like Beach Rose and Beach Pea, and edible native plants preferring damp, sunny habitats, like Cattail, Elderberry and Groundnut. Mushrooms are even more elusive than their wild plant counterparts, however following on from his presentation in the morning Peter will teach us how to identify and harvest and mushrooms and lichens that we encounter and will explain the role that these fungus play in their environment.
On Sunday Peter will focus on the thousand-year old Japanese tradition of Shiitake log cultivation. He will cover best practices for site selection, inoculation, and harvesting in depth. You’ll learn hands-on how to create a productive, and low input mini-mushroom farm to produce pounds of Shiitake mushrooms on demand! He will also guide us through the processes involved in processing mushrooms and lichens for natural medicines and dyes.
Both Peter and Russ are passionate about sustainability and environmental responsibility so in addition to tips on identification of wild species there will also be a focus on safe and environmentally responsible foraging throughout the weekend. This workshop is not suitable for, or intended to be a guide or training course for those looking to harvest wild plants for commercial sale.
Every Participant will receive a signed copy of Russ Cohen’s best selling book Wild Plants I Have Known….And Eaten.
Date: 7th-9th September
Location: Reversing Hall and Smithereen Farm, Pembroke ME 04666 (Camping spaces available)
$40 for weekend (downeasters)
$150 for weekend (from away, includes meals and camping)