Winter rains bring plentiful foraging opportunities from choice greens to delicious mushrooms. Our foraging adventure will teach you where to collect edible plants & fungi and how to identify them safely as well as poisonous specimens to be aware of. Our relaxed hike will end with a sampling of deliciously prepared locally-foraged food.
Many choice greens like Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata), Chickweed (Stellaria media) & Thistle (Cirsium spp.) (just to name a few) are in their immature stages at this time of year. Some species can be foraged as microgreens, which are in some cases more nutritious and succulent than their older counterparts. Plants are predictable but mushrooms are not – we will do our best to find some fungi during the walk. Either way, there will be examples to identify and you will learn habitat considerations for finding edible fungi.
The class is hands-on, in field and provides a perfect chance to directly connect with Nature. The class will focus on identification so you can forage your own foods – we will not be actively foraging as a group. We will discuss ethical harvesting and you will learn ways to tend our local ecosystem towards greater abundance using Native Ecology as our model. That’s right, proper foraging supports a thriving ecosystem- come be a part of the regenerative foraging movement.
It’s been a busy year for Hayden Stubbins from Hayden’s Harvest. He hosted forage and feasts, plant walks, mycology talks and herbal classes in North America, from NYC to coastal Maine. Check out his cool video about Forage and Feast that has over 1 million views HERE
Hayden has been involved with some really interesting projects on subjects such as Lyme Disease and invasive species over the past year:
Japanese Barberry: A story of Lyme Disease, invasive species, medicine, and scarves
Japanese Barberry creates ideal habitat for ticks, and has been attributed to the rise in Lyme Disease. More barberry = more ticks = more Lyme Disease. I have shifted my winter focus to finding products using Japanese Barberry with the hopes of decreasing its population in our woods with the aim of decreasing rates of Lyme Disease. These products include potential medicine (type II diabetes, fatty liver disease, statin-resistant high cholesterol, digestive issues), as a dye, bitters, and more to come. If you are interested in Japanese Barberry removal, any of the products listed above, or a monograph, please contact me.
He is currently taking booking for his spring teaching schedule, so if you or any organizations you know are interested in hosting a Forage and Feast, plant walk, mycology talk, herbalism event. These events are perfect for public and private schools, universities, youth groups, farms, community centers, and private residences alike. Many people have celebrated their birthdays at a Forage and Feast, so why not book a private Forage and Feast for you and your loved ones to celebrate a special day?
If you have any questions, are interested in getting involved with any of the above projects, or if you would like to host an event, please be in touch with Hayden firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Raphael Lyon, I am the mazer (mead maker) at Enlightenment Wines- a small natural wine meadery working across the river near New Paltz. For the last six years I have been making among other things- some really fine dandelion wine.
However to make the best dandelion wine possible a lot of flowers- over an ounce per bottle! So every year I reach out to all kinds of people around the hudson valley and pay them to pick for me for me. I pay pretty well- 8-10$ a pound for fresh frozen flowers. If you have a good field and can pick during the short flush when the flowers are really dense its not uncommon to make 20-30$ an hour on your own flexible schedule. This is a great way to make a little extra cash this spring hanging out with the birds and the bees in the summer air. I can also trade for wine if that excites you more.
If you are interested, please send me an email to my personal email address-
email@example.com and I can fill you in on the details. There are some caveats about where to pick (not off the highway etc), and you will need access to a freezer. But basically its not really that complicated.
Time is of the essence though!
In about a week or two what will be a few sparse dandelion flowers here and there will become a full blown yellow explosion for only a short time.
“Putting stinging nettle balls in the oven,” Russ Cohen announces to me proudly when I can’t guess what he’s doing in the moment that I call. Amid the flutter of taking interview requests and preparing for a conference later in the evening, he is putting the finishing touches on his wild-fitted version of a 1950’s-era recipe. He’ll serve it as part of his presentation. Swapping frozen nettles collected last summer in for the traditional spinach, he’s doing what he loves: “nibbling on nature”– and then sharing it with people.
In the following interview excerpts we discuss the rad new seed bank in his second refrigerator, what native plants can do for organic farmers, the wonders of the mighty shagbark hickory, and the danger of commercializing wild plants. Anyone interested in learning more about Russ or contacting him for seeds can do so here.
GH: Can you briefly describe yourself and your work for our readers? Let’s start with the work you’ve been doing.
I have been teaching folks about how to connect to the land through their taste buds— to nibble on nature— since I was a senior in high school in 1974. So that’s over 40 years ago. I do about 40 programs a year all over New England and upstate New York, most of which are just walking around with folks in the woods and fields, looking at wild plants and mushrooms, and talking about what’s edible— you know, explain how to identify it, what it tastes like, how to prepare it, if the Native Americans ate it, what kind of vitamins it has, whether it’s a weed or invasive, native or non-native, the impact of picking, and all that stuff.
GH: And what are you transitioning into?
RC: I am going to keep doing that, but what I am doing in addition to that is that I am aspiring to be a “Johnny Appleseed” of sorts for native edible species and plant more of them in the landscape, so that there’s more for more for everyone to benefit from, for people, for wildlife, the plants and the birds, pollinators, for everyone to benefit. So I have been gathering the seeds and nuts from native species.
I actually have a new fridge in my basement that’s filled with the nuts and seeds of native species.
As it turns out, most of them need to go through “stratification” (exposure to cold) before they’ll germinate, so the fridge is a good place to store them.
GH: Well that’s awesome. What exactly are you hoping to do with these seeds?
RC: I have been distributing them to native plant propagators and people I know who want to grow more native plants. I am actually going to be contract-growing a lot of stuff. So I’ve been contacting plant nurseries, giving them a bunch of seeds, and say “OK, turn these into plants for me”, and then I’ll buy the plants back to distribute to organizations to grow out on their properties. I am giving these plants away. I am not charging anyone for anything.
GH: A good portion of our blog readership are organic farmers. Do you see native plants playing a larger role in their work?
RC: Yes, at least where opportunities exist to grow native species in or around organic farms. Native edible species benefit birds, pollinators and other wildlife as well as offer food harvesting opportunities for people. This is a better alternative than collecting these species from natural habitats, where, unfortunately, I have been distressed to see damage to wild plant populations caused by commercially-driven harvesting.