Even though foraging – the act of searching for, identifying and collecting food resources in the wild – sustained our ancestors, it’s become a lost art in modern times. But recent years have seen renewed interest in learning those ancient skills, and Western North Carolina’s rich ecosystem offers ample opportunity to dive into the foraging movement. From classes to workshops to walking tours, there are many ways to learn about and enjoy wild edibles. Here are a few to check out around the Asheville area.
No Taste Like Home
This foraging education outfit, one of the largest in the region, offers unique “forage-to-table” tours: Led by expert guides, these family-friendly tours uncover at least a dozen wild edibles, including ones you might find in your own backyard. The tour teaches how to gather and cook up a tasting. Students also have the option to bring their finds to a participating Asheville restaurant to have them crafted into a free appetizer. No Taste Like Home’s “wild food stroll” at the Omni Grove Park Inn offers the option to dine at the Inn’s Vue 1913 post-stroll and enjoy an appetizer featuring edibles highlighted on the tour.
Asheville Mushroom Club
Members in this club range from beginning collectors to professional mycologists. The club holds monthly meetings led by experts on different aspects of fungi identification, folklore, cultivation and culinary preparation. The club also leads a number of foraging “forays” around Western North Carolina, ranging from day trips to camping excursions.
This permaculture and homesteading school located in the mountains of Western North Carolina just outside Asheville offers foraging classes and herbal medicine courses to impart knowledge and skills to gather wild plants safely and sustainably. Learn to find tasty wild treats and herbs to support vibrant health. Wild Abundance also offers an Immersive Permaculture Design Certificate to learn about wild edges of homesteads and gardens, as well as wild plants through the seasons.
The Firefly Gathering’s Perennial Firefly
This grassroots, community-based organization in Western North Carolina provides educational and cultural workshops, including foraging courses and walks, through its Perennial Firefly program. Its popular Wild Mushrooms & Fungi Identification Walk teaches mushroom ecology, safety tips related to fungi as wild food, ethical harvesting practices, and more.
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