Wild Edible Notebook—November Release!

Wen Nov2011 640 226x350 Wild Edible Notebook—November Release!A teensy bit more than halfway through November I am once again honored to present the Wild Edible Notebook, my journal-style tale of select plants. This sixth issue centers on two blue-purple edibles, namely wild grapes and juniper “berries”—late fall forage to carry us over through the cold winter until the start of next spring’s wildcrafting season. The November issue also includes my recent news on Cattail Bob’s book, Best-Tasting Wild Plants of Colorado and the Rockies (1998), as well as a short piece by contributing writer Wendy Petty (www.zesterdaily.com) aka Butterpoweredbike (www.hungerandthirstforlife.blogspot.com).

The procedure for downloading the Wild Edible Notebook has changed. Please visit the Wild Edible Notebook page for information on subscribing to the iPad/iPhone or PDF versions for $1.99/month. Your support makes the continued development of this publication possible, both on the content and technical sides.

To download a free issue of the Wild Edible Notebook and stay abreast of future developments, please join the email list by filling out your info at the very bottom of this website. Thanks!

EDITED 10.7.13 to reflect the new download procedures.

 

Foraging Unfamiliar Ground (for Radio)

first burdock 350x262 Foraging Unfamiliar Ground (for Radio)

Digging burdock root deep in the brush with Jim Pullen of KGNU. Photo by Butterpoweredbike.

As wild food foragers, we sometimes find ourselves on unfamiliar ground. A trip somewhere new can be both exciting and intimidating. What is there to forage here?

This was the situation in which my co-foraging friend, Butterpoweredbike, and I found ourselves two weeks ago in the dry, windswept hills northwest of Lyons, Colorado. We’d been invited there by the landowner, Cheri Hoffer, after she heard of our plight to find a plot of private land on which to forage with KGNU producer Jim Pullen, who wanted to tape us foraging for radio.

Together, we drove the long, rough, dirt road there wondering whether we’d made a mistake. Neither of us was familiar with the habitat; everything seemed to be brown, and the media was on its way. What were we going to find? Crap.  Read the rest of this entry

Hunt Gather Cook 288x350 Boulder to Rediscover “The Forgotten Feast” November 1Hank Shaw, author of Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast, makes a tour stop at the Black Cat Farm Table Bistro in Boulder, Colorado on Tuesday, November 1 to sign books and help guests rediscover that which has been forgotten through a prix fixe feast featuring foraged foods and flavors. 

Chef Eric Skokan presents the menu, which is slated to include risotto with porcini and second cutting hay, pickled mallow, campfire trout, spruce, pine nut aioli, crispy thistle, Colorado lamb (not to be confused with the next menu item) lamb’s quarters, burdock root gratin, and pickled rose hips, with maple and walnut cake, black walnut ice cream, and nocino for dessert. Any of the non-foraged ingredients are deeply local, with 80% of the restaurant’s usual provisions coming from their 70-acre Black Cat Farm.  Read the rest of this entry

There’s No Foraging Like Snow Foraging

colorado rockies october 2011 262x350 There’s No Foraging Like Snow Foraging

October snow hovers in the high country.

It’s mid October and it just keeps snowing here in the high country at 11,000 feet in Colorado Rockies. You’d think foraging season were over, but it’s not.

Two days ago I awoke to a steady snow and found myself unable to focus on work. By noon it stopped but the wind kicked up; the way it whipped around the house inspired Gregg to curl up by the fire and swear he’d stay inside all day. I felt exactly the opposite, however: I needed to go outside.

It’s hunting season so the hand-me-down pink bell bottom cords and orange puffy vest were in order. It was hat and gloves weather too with all that wind.

The mining road was vacant and the snow plentiful. I reveled in getting fresh tracks as I hiked through 3”- 4” deep swaths of pow. At a switchback I clambered over the fallen tree trunk that obscures the footpath to the secret meadow, which I descended brushing snow off the low bushes as I went.

There were many non-producing low juniper shrubs en route but eventually I found the one I was looking for, which I’d spied a few days prior. It is the most fruitful creeping juniper shrub I’ve ever found, and despite the snow it was still laden with plump, blue berries.  Read the rest of this entry

Wild Edible Notebook—October Release!

wen oct2011 640 226x350 Wild Edible Notebook—October Release!Halfway through October I am once again honored to present the Wild Edible Notebook, my journal-style tale of select plants. This fifth issue is about acorns. It includes an entry about my own experience processing and preparing a bounty of Colorado acorns (yes, we have acorns) as well as a Wisconsin acorn neophyte’s adventures with her back yard bur oak. The accounts feature interviews with none other than wild food guru, Samuel Thayer. There are also reviews of Thayer’s two books, Nature’s Garden (2010) and The Forager’s Harvest (2006) as well as Hank Shaw’s recently-released book, Hunt, Gather, Cook (2011). As you can see from the cover at right, I went hogwild with InDesign’s  pencil tool for this issue.

The procedure for downloading the Wild Edible Notebook has changed. Please visit the Wild Edible Notebook page for information on subscribing to the iPad/iPhone or PDF versions for $1.99/month. Your support makes the continued development of this publication possible, both on the content and technical sides.

To download a free issue of the Wild Edible Notebook and stay abreast of future developments, please join the email list by filling out your info at the very bottom of this website. Thanks!

EDITED 10.7.13 to reflect the new download procedures.

 

Berry Bliss at Strawberry Park

strawberry park springs fall 350x262 Berry Bliss at Strawberry Park

Strawberry Park hot springs in fall. Photo by Gregg Davis.

This blog is just the small-potatoes-rambling of one over-exuberant semi-neophyte foraging addict, but I swear, wild food must be en vogue or something—because in the last four months I have received not one or two but three different emails from producers seeking to create TV or web shows about foraging. 

One inquired as to whether my collecting missions require acts of bravery. Acts of bravery? I was inclined to reply in the negative, but, eager to please, I dug deep and ventured this response: “Does hanging off a mountainside to collect currants count?” (It’s not that I have to hang off the mountainside; it’s just that that’s where the best currants are.) I got the sense that he appreciated my effort but found the answer wanting, however.   

Next he asked whether I travel worldwide for special wild foods. “Um, no,” I replied. Clearly my hobby is less sexy than TV might hope. “Mostly I forage locally where I live,” I explained. Really I’m just a poor fool working 10 jobs, scavenging my food from the wild so I can afford to live in paradise, and banging away at the keyboard about things that interest me whenever I get the chance.    Read the rest of this entry

Foraging Fungi in the National Forest

forest products sign 350x270 Foraging Fungi in the National Forest

As of September 2011, the South Park Ranger District does not require a mushroom permit. Fungi foraging in the neighboring White River National Forest, however, requires a free permit for personal use.

Note: I wrote this article at the behest of a Forest Service representative; it is re-posted here, plus subtitles, with permission of the Summit Daily News, which ran it on October 1.  

Just as collecting firewood from the national forest for home use requires a permit, so too does foraging for fungus in the White River National Forest in and around Summit County, Colorado, including areas that were once part of the Arapahoe National Forest. 

Fungi Foraging Permit Free but Required

“Mushroom gathering requires a personal use permit that we have been issuing for free at the Dillon Ranger District Office,” said Cary Green, timber management assistant for the East Zone White River National Forest. The limit is five gallons of mushrooms/day — the equivalent of one 5-gallon bucket or two grocery sacks — with a total season limit of 67 lbs. Other popular Forest Service permits include those for Christmas trees, boughs and transplants. Read the rest of this entry

Wild Edible Notebook—September Release!

wen september2011 350 Wild Edible Notebook—September Release!Halfway through September I am once again honored to present the Wild Edible Notebook, my journal-style tale of select plants. This fourth issue is about wild mushrooms.

In the first part, I share a neophyte’s adventure discovering and experimenting with shaggy manes (Coprinus comatus).

The second part, which regards Colorado Rocky Mountain mushrooms in general, is a little different than prior Notebooks as it is a told in a more journalistic voice. It includes interviews with Jana Hlavaty, the Czech-born U.S. Olympian who is also an avid mushroom hunter, and Vera Stucky Evenson, curator of the Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi at the Denver Botanic Gardens and author of Mushrooms of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountains. (Part of the material is reprinted from a recent article I wrote for the Summit Daily Newsbut I have also included portions of the interviews that were beyond the scope of the SDN piece.)

The procedure for downloading the Wild Edible Notebook has changed. Please visit the Wild Edible Notebook page for information on subscribing to the iPad/iPhone or PDF versions for $1.99/month. Your support makes the continued development of this publication possible, both on the content and technical sides.

To download a free issue of the Wild Edible Notebook and stay abreast of future developments, please join the email list by filling out your info at the very bottom of this website. Thanks!

EDITED 10.7.13 to reflect the new download procedures.

 

A Daily Diet of Puffballs and Leftover Bread

gem studded puffballs 350x262 A Daily Diet of Puffballs and Leftover Bread

Gem studded puffballs from the backyard.

Looking back to the puffball entry I wrote on August 13 last year, I can’t believe how long it’s taken for my backyard colony of gem-studded puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum) to emerge this season. Emerge they have, however (in early September, finally!), and with them a host of other puffballs as well.  

First there were the big puffballs I found on September 3 amidst the sagebrush in an open field on a hilltop in a dry aspen forest in Fairplay, Colorado. This after Gregg’s parents took me on a crazy off-roading adventure (which they didn’t think was all that crazy) consisting of a mile-long drive up a hilly mining road strewn alternately with rough talus and nasty ditches from the spring runoff to get to the trailhead. It’s true that I’m a wee bit squeamish about off-roading, but Gregg’s usually cautious parents seem to have a penchant for it ever since they emerged triumphant from an ill-advised tour in their Jeep Grand Cherokee over Mosquito Pass from Leadville to Fairplay a few years ago.   Read the rest of this entry

Lactarius Deliciosus is fine with me

delicious milk caps 350x262 Lactarius Deliciosus is fine with me

Newly picked Lactarius deliciosus aka delicious milk caps. Note gills are light orange, not white.

It rained quite a bit a few days ago and now the mushrooms are up again, though we’ve found only one bolete in recent days—a magnificent one, but past its prime so we left it. I wonder if the season for boletes is past?

No biggie. Boletes are good but so are Lactarius deliciosus, a mushroom I had not intended to try because it has gills, but when my friend Butter announced that she was looking for it, I starting looking too—and then found them in abundance.

Delicious Milky Caps 

Lactarius deliciosus is just as it sounds: milky and delicious. It’s creamy light orange, both on the cap and gills (which should not be white). Deliciosus is what happens when you sauté it in oil for a while—though just how delicious it is seems subject to debate, with Vera Stucky Evenson (1997) saying, “Although a popular edible in other countries, Colorado’s variety of this species are not always delicious.”  Read the rest of this entry

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