Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A quote from Michel Bras

     There are strong bonds which link man with his native land, with the familiar landscapes, the summits, the springs which sculpt their way across the pastures, the villages which evolve slowly, or those that die, hamlets in the lee of the immobile rock or hidden in the beech woods dreaming of the past.  Whatever education and life may bring later on, each in his own way, every child has their native land- a country of their own- in their flesh, in their blood, and in their conscience.  Each person derives both their qualities and their faults from their upbringing, their liveliest instincts, their most acute feelings, their engrained habits, their deepest rooted prejudices, their most banal superstitions- all of these are rooted in the land where they grew up.  One's native land illuminates one's conscience.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Early Fall Update

Below are items in season right now.  

Wild Persimmon
Black Walnut ready for it's husk to be removed
Chestnut Oak Acorns
Field Onions
Wild Lettuce

Curly Dock

Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Season Now

Below are some pictures of wild edibles that are in season right now.

Wild Green Shiso also known as Perilla Plant

Wood Sorrel

Smooth Sumac

Loomis Mountain Mint

Kudzu Blooms

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


     The wild blackberries are earlier than ever before.  This year everything is 2- 3 weeks early.  I started picking some last week and this week I have picked several quarts.  Blackberries are one of those things that people get nostalgic about.  They remember as a kid walking along the side of a country road and picking blackberries.  They did not mind how hot or eaten up with bugs they got.  It is all about the berries!  Unfortunately wild blackberries are becoming increasingly harder to find.  Most counties spray or if you are lucky mow the side of roads.  I hike for several miles to the backside of my property where it is wilderness to pick them.

     I love picking blackberries, but one of the worst things about picking the berries are the chiggers.  No matter how much or where I put on bug repellent, I get eaten up with chigger bites.  Chiggers and blackberries are like peas in a pod.  Chigger bites also show up a day after you have been picking.

     While you are picking blackberries be sure to look out for dewberries.  They start to ripen as the blackberries are fading away.  Dewberries have darker green leaves and a rounder, softer fruit.  Be careful picking them because they squish easily.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Have you ever eaten a Pine Tree?

     This was an infamous quote from the godfather of foraging, Euell Gibbons.  The inner bark is edible, but that is for another article.  I’m here to talk about pine needles.  Pine trees are everywhere here in Alabama.  There are different types of pine that grow here.  Different varieties smell and taste different.  My favorite is the Virginia Pine.  It has short twisted needles in bunches of three.  Its fragrance is stronger than the other varieties around.  Besides the pine smell I get a grapefruit/citrus smell.  Pine needles have five times more Vitamin C than in one cup of orange juice.  Pine Needle Tea is also used by Native Americans to treat coughs and colds.  It helps expel phlegm from your body.  The easiest way to use pine needles is to make tea.  You can use any pine needles from a tree.  Make sure they are green and not brown, clip the brown ends off and put them into a tea or coffee cup.  Pour boiling water over the needles, cover and steep for 10 minutes.  You can drink it straight up or sweetened.  It has a nice clean flavor.  Not like pinesol at all. You can also infuse the pine needles into other things.  Really, the sky is the limit for creativity!

A word of caution.  You should not eat pine needles or drink the tea if you are pregnant.  Eating pine needles has been known to cause abortions in cows.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Foraging Class

Do not forget about the next foraging class!  The date is April 21st.  Get in touch to sign up!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Foraging Class

The next foraging class is March 17th!!!!!!  Spring is springing fast!  Don't miss out!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A recent afternoon in the woods

Darker than Midnight

A gateway on a ridge

Dark Holler

Monday, January 23, 2012

Farm update

 I hope everyone is doing well!  As we get into 2012, I think back to last year.  I think the word for last year is change.  There were many changes happening around the farm.  I realized that I couldn't grow enough vegetables, herbs, and flowers to farm full time.  There is just not enough arable land to do so.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  That was a hard realization to come to.  And so I'm concentrating on what I'm known for.  Which is foraging.  You will find products that I forage for at several restaurants around town.  And from time to time, I will have flowers and herbs available for purchase. 
     So, I'm really looking forward to 2012.  As I learn more and more about the flora and the land around me, I'm constantly exploring and looking for new things.  I'm searching for new tastes and textures.  I'm constantly amazed at how much food is all around us.  I also plan on experimenting with various items.  Some familiar, and some new.  This week I will be experimenting with pine needles, field mustard roots, and primrose roots.  I'm really excited about this!  You also may have noticed how weird this winter weather has been.  Weather affects wild items in a lot of ways.  For instance, watercress is in season right now.  It was earlier than expected this year.  I could have been cutting on it in December.  Also, since it is earlier will that mean it does not last as long into the spring?  I will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Over the mountains

This morning while driving through the foggy mountains to Ashville to pick watercress, I spotted some mushrooms growing high up on a dead tree.  Colours really pop on an overcast, foggy morning.  There were three oak trees with oyster mushrooms on them.  I was almost too late.  A lot of them were weeks old and rotting.  I was able to cut several pounds of them.  It looked like the mycelia was filling these trees up by the shear numbers of rotting mushrooms.  It has been my observation that mushrooms grow the most near the base of the tree.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A new year

Some pictures from the past year.  You can find more pictures on my twitter account.  

My New Year's Resolution for this year is to write once a week!