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Foraging New England
Features - The Home Farmer
Written by Chad Ammidown   

Having read articles about urban foragers, I was curious what information was out there for learning about which plants are edible and more importantly ... tasty.  I'm not sure how far this curiosity will actually go since my fear of eating the wrong plant may be greater than my desire to try something new.  However, I do think there is some real value in knowing how and what to look for in wild plants.

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The first thing I found was from Russ Cohen.  He has authored a book on foraging called "Wild Plants I Have Known...And Eaten" and has several walks and courses he holds throughout the year with a schedule on his site.  Since Russ provides lessons in addition to a website and a book, I figure he deserves some special notice.  His courses can be just the thing to excite your foraging desires.

Since we live in an online world, I thought I should find some videos on YouTube that might get me started.  I found some Northeast guides from hunters that were pretty good and entire channels based in Europe that were nicely done.  The videos from Europe are are useful since we have pretty similar environments due to climate and culture.

The next logical step was books.  I really want materials on hand to ensure I am picking the proper plants and preparing them in a way that makes them most enjoyable.  For this I found a book series that focuses on mid and eastern U.S. for edible plants and a companion book on medicinal plants and herbs.  In addition, I found that anything by Euell Gibbons is considered to be a terrific read.  His books were written in the '60s and his approach to finding wild food is poetic and passionate coming from his childhood where foraging was needed during the depression to provide for his family.  Lastly I found a book that focuses on only New England in Tom Seymour's, "Foraging New England".  In any of these choices the ultimate goal is to avoid the outcome of another book, "Into The Wild" and these should help you do that.

In all of us there is a part that is fascinated by the idea of what life would be like without all the phones and computers and the hustle of everyday life.  Foraging is a way to connect with some of the things that speak to our primal nature and can be therapy against modern life.  Understanding local foraging can be useful in just identifying something new at your farmer's market.  It can be used to find some items while on a hike.  It can even be a way to know the place in which you live a little better.  Whatever the reason may be, it is worth checking out.

If you know of other links worth mentioning on this topic, please feel free to add comments to share with other readers.

 

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  1. Hi Chad - Thanks for mentioning me and my foraging programs/book in the LIS blog. FYI, this afternoon I posted my 2011 schedule of public foraging programs at
    [url=http://users.rcn.com/eatwild/sched.htm ]Link Text[/url]
    One more thing - one of the books you mentioned, "Foraging New England", has a misleading title. Although it is a good book (I own a copy), the author (Tom Seymour) is from Waldo County, Maine (near Belfast), and while all the plants, etc. in the book can be found there, the book leaves out many yummy species encountered in southern New England such as Sassafras, Shagbark Hickory, Black Walnut, Wineberry, Barberry and so on. So the publisher should have been more honest in calling Tom's book "Foraging Waldo County", or "Foraging in Maine", since its contents is not truly representative of New England.

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