Tag Archives: Nature

Event: FARFA Conference

 

I will be speaking during the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance – Farm and Food Leadership Conference October 14th and 15th , in McKinney, Texas.

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Topics covered at the event will range from food security and public policy, to land management techniques and home gardening. I will be speaking on a panel about diversifying income streams for farmers, along with Megan Neubauer, Brad Stufflebeam and Jennie Herm.

I will also be holding a joint panel with Jesse Griffiths, owner and head chef at Dai Due, in Austin Texas. We will talk about issues dealing with learning about edible native species of plants, as well as wild game. While this talk will be geared towards the average consumer, we will also address how consumers, as well as land owners, can utilize these resources to supplement their income, experiment with native species, benefit their environment and provide a sustainable food source.

Conference tickets are still available, as are tickets to the Farm-to-Table dinner being held the evening of the first day of the Conference. There are also several workshops to be held Sunday, the day before the Conference officially starts, and they will also cover a wide range of both consumer and producer related topics.

More information and registration are available here.

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Event: Kids’ Fall Foraging

I’m teaming up with the Calixto Project again to offer another Kids-focused foraging adventure! We’llexplore and gather the wild Autumn foods of the forest, then create some surprising (and delicious!) treats.

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This is a perfect outdoor activity for kids, with a little bit of learning and life experience snuck in (shhh!). The event will be held Sunday, October 21st, near Southeast Austin. You can read more about the oppurtunity at the Calixto Project, as well as find information on how to sign up!

The weather is sure to be cooler by then (or at least not lethal!) so come out and have some fun.

Upcoming Events

There are several events coming up over the next couple of months, opportunities where you can learn more about wild foods and how they can benefit our communities and also get some first-hand experience foraging and harvesting some wild foods yourself and even sampling some of the unique dishes they can be used in!

On Thursday, April 12th, I’ll be giving a lecture for the Milam county chapter of Texas Master Naturalists. This is a free event open to the public and I’ll be covering topics including foraging ethics and best practices to discussing selected, important wild species and their uses. The meeting is being held in Milano, at the Milano Methodist church located at 219 W. ave. at 6:00 pm

I will also be taking part in the Milam county Earth Day event, on Saturday, April 21st. I’ll have a booth set up with samples of wild dishes as well as hand outs about how to start foraging, where you can learn more about it, as well as how you can set up your own Wild Foods Gardens. The event is being held in Rockdale at the local community center located at 109 N. Main st.

At the end of April, on Saturday the 28th, I will also be leading a foraging class for kids at McKinney Falls state park in Austin, Texas. This event is being put on by the Calixto Project, which creates opportunities for kids to enjoy positive experiences in the Great Outdoors. We will be ranging across the beautiful landscape and then preparing some unique and delicious dishes with our finds after wards. So this excursion will be part hunter-gatherer adventure, and part cooking presentation! The Adventures begin at 11 am and will last until around 2:30 pm. For more information, and to register, check out the Event Page here.

Alongside all of these great events is the impending release of my book, which should be made available by the end of this month! I will have copies available for anyone attending the Texas Master Naturalist lecture on April 12th in Milano, so try to make it out if you’d like to grab a copy.

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I am also putting together several other events across the next several months centered around some of the biggest Wild Foods harvests of the year. Wild onions at the end of March, dewberries at the beginning of May and wild grapes at the beginning of Summer, we will talk about these, as well as other species, and everyone participating will get to go home with a bunch of free, healthy, delicious wild foods. Participation in these foraging walks is limited, to ensure everyone who comes is able to gather as much tasty foods as they wish, and so we don’t denude the resources at each site. To sign up for any of these, you can visit their event pages on Facebook, here.

I’m really excited about all these opportunities coming up. Part of that is due to getting to see the culmination of several personal endeavors. But it’s also because it’s a chance to make a difference and reach a large amount of people. Sharing this information and lifestyle with others is one of the greatest feelings that I get to experience. Not the least of which is because it allows me to help people connect with a world that I am personally and intrinsically attracted to, but also because I’m able to provide a greater sense of security and liberty which can help people to lead healthier, happier lives.

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!

Recipe: Cattail Fritters

Cattails have been called the supermarket of the wild by experienced foragers, due to their multitude of uses throughout the succession of the seasons. But  we have found perhaps an even greater abundance in variety of dshes we’ve enjoyed frm this delicious plant.

For our newest recipe, the ingredients yo’ll need are:

1 cup stripped cattail flowers (12-24 male flower stalks)

1 cup mozzarella

1 egg

salt, pepper and oregano to taste

 

In a large pot, boil the fresh male cattail flower stalks. If necessary (and it probably will be) chop the flower stalks in half in order to fit them into the pot. Cover them with water and boil until the flowers can easily be stripped from the stalk; about 15 – 20 minutes. Next, strain the water from the pot and remove the flower stalks and begin stripping the yellow flower fluff off. This can be easily accomplished by holding the flower stalk flat on the counter with one hand, and with the other  use a fork to pull the yellow fluff off.

Combine the fluff in a bowl with the mozzarella, oregano and egg and whisk together. Place a skillet or frying pan on medium heat on your stove and add the cattail mixture to the pan much as you would with pancake batter. Flip each fritter once and continue frying more until your mixture is depleted or you’re full!

Enjoy!

Recipe: Curly Dock Soup

In honor of the passing of the early Spring season, I’ve decided to post this recipe for curly dock soup. A delicious and simple recipe, it makes use of the most prolific, perhaps, of all the Spring greens and the result is a soup which is both light and filling.

The ingredients you will need for this are:

2 tbsp. butter

1 cup wild onions (bulbs or buds)

1/2 cup young wild lettuce stalk (or celery)

4 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 cups chopped curly dock leaves

thyme, black pepper, salt to taste

 

Mix the butter, onions, lettuce (or celery), salt and pepper in a large pot or dutch oven on a stove at medium heat until the vegetables start to sweat. Once they are glistening, add the stock and bring to a boil. Next, reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Finally, add the cream, chopped dock leaves, and thyme. Allow the soup to continue to heat until the dock leaves are wilted, then remove from heat, allow to cool, and serve.

Aside from its simplicity and tastefulness, this recipe is a wonderful way to make use of curly dock leaves even after they have grown large and over-matured. As such, this soup is able to embody the full flavor of Spring long after most of the tender greens have given way to the early seeds and fruit of Summer.

A good pairing for this dish are cattail fritters, or more poignantly, flatbread made from the ripe curly dock seed, and sweetened pine needle tea early in the Spring or lemon beebalm infused tea later towards Summer.

I personally love dishes like this, because they can embody the fleeting nature of a given time or season; and after they’re gone, the memory of which gives us something to look forward to and allows and feeling of continuity and certainty….

Because Spring will always come again

Happy harvesting!