Harvest season in Texas is quite a thing. We’re putting on a 4-course, gourmet dinner at the Czech Out Ranch this October, showcasing all the amazing wild flavors of the Autumn Texas harvest-time!
We’ll have a short plant walk, to talk about what wild foods are currently in season, and then we’ll enjoy a curated, 4-course seasonal wild feast handcrafted to showcase all the wonderful, native flavors of the Texas Hill Country.
These dishes will be one-of-a-kind unique; put together by the amazing Lacie Wall, and we’ll discuss the process of coming up with novel and wild recipes to work with wild ingredients. Detailed information about each dish will be available, as well as copies of my book, “The Cycle of Foraging”, for anyone interested.
–The cost of the dinner is $60/person, and will include wine pairings plus samples of foraged cocktails!
Tickets are available through PayPal @ paypal.me/anaturalplace. Please include a preferred contact method, as directions will be emailed out prior to the event.
This is a limited seating event! Spots will fill up fast so reserve your spot today.
This Spring, March 16th – 17th, Green Valley Gardens is holding a 2-day Wild Foods weekend on their organic, permacultural farm in North Texas.
Comprising over 100-acres, this family farm showcases a variety of sustainable land management practices and a diversity of natural resources. Come enjoy the weekend with us as we celebrate the return of Spring and explore all the amazing foods growing in this beautiful landscape!
Green Valley Gardens was created as a start-up market garden, just North of Denton, Texas. They are active promoters of local farmers markets, and regularly work with other local growers to bring environmentally-conscious, quality food to North Texas. They also work hard educating and sharing their practices with others.
We’ll get to spend an entire day discussing (and harvesting!) edible species of native and wild plants, their implications for food security and sustainability, and how we can work with these resources to grow a healthier relationship with our Land.
Day 2 we’ll turn to the culinary arts and explore all the amazing ways you can turn these Mange Sauvage into High Table fare! Spring is a beautiful time of year in the woods; flowers are blooming, onions are budding and a smorgasbord of other wild foods are on offer. From learning to prepare soup and salad starters to delicious hors d’ouvres and wild entrees, we’ll share our secrets to celebrating and enjoying all the amazing flavors and foods here around us.
Come camp out with us, enjoy some excellent foods around the fire, and experience great fellowship while learning more about how we can work to craft a better way of living, together.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for kids 10 years and younger (kiddos 3 and under free!), includes entire 2-day event with meals, workshops and camp sites. PLEASE RSVP with the ages and numbere of people in your party. Space is limited, so reserve your spot soon.
Items to bring:
Camp chair or blanket for sitting
Clothes/footwear suitable for getting dirty!
Gardening gloves, if preferred
Light spade or digging tool
Notebook and pencil
Passion for learning…
*small campers or pop-up trailers may be approved upon request
Our new home has brought us a new opportunity to grow some new wild gardens, and we are going to try and take them in a little bit of a different direction this time around.
We’ll still be wildcrafting some of our favorite wild and native species from our surrounding area to fill our beds, but we are also going to be working with local businesses and entrepreneurs to determine the market potential for the different species we grow as well!
Since moving to the Texas hill country this past Summer, I have been fortunate to meet and work with several other individuals dedicated to sharing and educating others about these wonderful, wild resources. From reknown restaurants to urban farms and markets, there is growing interest in these products as healthy, holistic and delicious cuisine. In working with landowners and small farmers, it’s also important to be able to share as much data on the potential of these resources as possible. That includes productivity, economy, but also market value.
Throughout this next yearly cycle of foraging then, we’ll be actively marketing the products of our wild gardens to local restaurants and businesses that are interested in showcasing local and willd fare, to determine which species are the most profitable, what is the value of all other species grown as well, in addition to the usual data we collect on productivity and environmental impact (i.e: wildlife).
We’re also stepping up our overall construction in terms of design and bed size this year. The Texas hill country is *blessed* with an abundance of beautiful limestone, and we’ve been able to re-purpose several hundred pounds of flagstone and loose fill. The number of species we are growing has also increased. We are adding several aquatic species, so we’ll also be building tanks to house them, along with a few native fish species to act as mosquito control-cum-aquacultures. That will be especially exciting!
In all we’ll be propagating between 15 and 20 different wild and native species of edible plants. Including: Turk’s cap mallow (Malvaviscus arboreus), American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), prickly pear cactus (Opuntia spp.), canna lily (Canna spp.), winecup (Callirhoe involucrata), passionfruit (Passiflora incarnata), wild onion (Allium spp.), cattail (Typha spp.), American lotus (Nelumbo lutea), wild grapes (Vitis rotundifolia) and an assortment of native herbs and flowers.
Our hope and purpose for this new project is to set down a blueprint which can be followed or applied to any small to moderate sized property or urban farm and garden. We’ve touted the potential benefits of working with these resources for many years, and have seen success in the past in propagating them both for ourselves and others. But now we are unequivocally stepping forward to create a new potential dynamic in the arena of land and habitat management. Proverbally putting our money exactly where our mouths are.
Within the next two years we will have definitive data on the potential and value of managing landscapes for wild and native edible plants, both in terms of their impact on human standards of living and economy, as well as the positive impacts they can have on urban and rural environments.
We will have the basis for forming a new pact with our Land; the seeds by which we can reap a greater freedom and securty for all.
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.
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.
The Cycle of Foraging: a book of days is now available! Copies are available now on Amazon, and also directly through us, at a discount, via PayPal.
This book is a labor of love, detailing the yearly cycle of foraging our family enjoys, and the wonderful relationships we have formed with our world.
Included are over 50 species native throughout the Eastern US. For each edible plant, information is provided on preferred habitat, harvesting and preparation, benefits for wildlife and environmental impact, as well as how to grow them in your own “Neck of the Woods”! An introduction, covering the basic techniques and precautions of foraging, is also provided.
Supported with hundreds of full color photographs and dozens of original paintings and illustrations, this is a comprehensive guide, sure to be treasured by both the avid gardener wanting to work more with native and wild species, as well as Nature lovers seeking to learn more about their world.
Thank you to all who helped in the creation of this work, but especially thanks are due to all the interested parties who encouraged (and waited patiently for) its release.
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.
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.