Event: Foraging Class – Texas Master Naturalists

On Thursday, April 12th at 6pm I’ll be holding a lecture on edible wild plants and foraging for the Milam county chapter of Texas Master Naturalists.

This will be held at their monthly chapter meeting, which is free and open to the public, so if you are in the area please stop by for an evening of wild edibles and camaraderie.

Monthly chapter meetings are held at the Milano methodist church, 219 W. ave. Milano, Tx 76556

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Event: Feast in the Forest – Ave Alegre

Ave Alegre studios – Feast in the Forest

 

Ave Alegre studios had their Feast in the Forest fundraiser this past weekend, and we had an amazing time. Several different artists came together to create a forest full of beautiful artwork. There was live music serenading us through the night and delicious, romantic treats for all to enjoy, and under the lights you could feel a community of people coming together to support the vision the wonderful people behind Ave Alegre have for their land.

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Ave Alegre is more than an event space and gallery, it is a place to come together and learn more about how to live in harmony; with our environment and with each other. Classes are offered in everything from working with indigenous clays for pottery to growing and using native and organic plants to cook delectable dishes and therapeutic concoctions. I’ve led foraging classes with them and they are always interested in the new wild dishes we come up with. Classes are taught in both English and Spanish and the whole place is an educational space on how different and beautiful life can be.

They are available for most event types and all of their upcoming classes and opportunities can be found on through their website or on their official Facebook page.

Seasonal Update: Book Announcement!

It’s almost here!

 

~The Cycle of Foraging – A Book of Days~

The book I’ve been writing since the end of the Wild Foods Garden project is basically done, there’s just some last minute touches that need to happen and then some final editing, but then it’s off to the printers.

Here is a quick sneak peek inside at what it will look like:

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There are about 50 different species covered, all arranged according to when they appear throughout the year. They are organized by month and seasons; details for each include seasonality, identification, habitat preference, propagation methods as well as uses. I’m publishing it through CreateSpace, on Amazon, so it will be available online for any kindle readers, as well as in print form.

In addition to hundreds of full color photographs, the book is also filled with dozens of original paintings and beautiful illustrations. These have been added to highlight important details of different species and to give a better picture of how the world changes from one season to another.

Foraging, for my family, truly is a cycle. We mark our calendars for when the dewberries will come into season. We celebrate the ripening of the wild grapes at every Midsummer, and spend all year waiting for the beautyberry harvest to come again. Learning about and coming to enjoy and look forward to all the different wild foods available in our environment naturally connects you to a deeper cycle of Life; a different world. The world we are all born into, but for which many have lost sight of. This book is my attempt to share that world with you. To show how our natural resources can improve our lives, improve our communities and provide a more sustainable and secure future.

Over the next month I will be posting updates on when the book will become available, but it will hopefully be before the end of March. I have several events planned for the next couple of months, and I hope to have hard copies available for anyone wanting to attend. This weekend I will be at Ave Alegre’s Feast in the Forest fundraiser and next month I will be hosting a wild foods potluck, and then gearing up for Earth Day 2018!

In between all of these events, I will doubtlessly be sharing what wild edibles are currently coming into season, and any unique and delicious recipes my family creates with them. Over the next month, we are avidly waiting for the cattail shoots to emerge. We had a fluke burst of them at the end of last year and the opportunity gave us some inspiration for when we meet them again. HINT HINT: noodles…..

To stay up to date with progress on the book or what events I have coming up, follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Wood Sorrel (Oxalis spp.)

Wood sorrel is perhaps one of the most fun plants of early Spring. Its trio of heart shaped leaves have the tangy zest of a ripe lemon, perfect for adding to salads or as a garnish. After it goes to flower, it’s small, banana shaped fruit pack the same punch. Wood sorrel can be found in shaded areas under trees in moist soils that don’t experience too much flooding.

Wood sorrel forms a scale-like tuber, which is edible, but for transplanting is the best way to re-plant them. Digging up the tubers as early in the Spring as possible will ensure that they still have most of the minerals and energy stored in them from the previous year.

Wild Onion (Allium spp.)

 

Heralding the beginning of Spring is the gathering of the wild onions! Every year around the Spring equinox, onions appear in large groups throughout meadows and along tree lines. They quickly begin forming their flower buds, and then seedpods, though. However, these can be a delicious treat as well. Pickled onion tips are wonderfully zesty and an excellent addition to any salad or late Spring, early Summer burger. Heck, just out of the jar is fine too!

 

 

Yet, by the beginning of May they will all have gone to seed; and at that point it’s best to leave them in the ground so they can propagate more for next year. plus the actual, large Onion bulb is not nearly as tasty by then anyway.

To transplant them to your home, it’s best to carefully lift the whole plant out of the native soil (take some with it too though) and re-plant it either in a pot or prepared bed at home. They like deep, rich soils that are well drained. Transplanting them as early in the Spring as possible is good too, since their bulbs will still have all their energy stored up in them, and can potentially still propagate that year.

Wild Grape (Vitis mustangensis, rotundifolia)

The wild grapes in Texas become available regularly around Midsummer (the Summer solstice) every year. Mustang grape vines have leaves which are silvery underneath while Muscadine (rotundifolia) are both light green above and below. Mustang grapes tend to ripen first, however, even unripened Muscadine grapes can be edible. Both varieties are wonderful Summer treats, and tend to appear in such quantities as to inspire spontaneous dancing and singing on hot Midsummer nights!

Both Mustang and Muscadine grapevines are prolific growers, and are capable of dominating any environment they are planted in. They are an amazing addition to any wild garden, but caution is encouraged as they can easily pull down any small shrub or young tree.

Turk’s Cap Mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus)

Turk’s cap is a member of the mallow family, and thrives in partially sunny, humid woodlands. It fares better in soils with a richer, higher organic content, but is more than capable of thriving in more marginal soils as well.

In optimum conditions, the species can reach over 9 feet tall, but is more commonly seen at between 3 – 6 feet. It’s flowers are a great attractant for hummingbirds, as well as many other pollinator species. Their fruits which appear in late Summer are small and red, resembling tiny apples. Their flavor is sweet, and reminiscent of candied apple and marshmallows!