Feeling a little feral? Nutritious and tasty wild edibles flourish year-round in the West. Local experts can teach you about winter's bounty at these foraging events, workshops, and feasts.
- Cattails, the graceful wetland plants so easily recognizable by their fuzzy spikes, have surprisingly edible components, including delicious shoots and roots that can be turned into flour. Consider their marshy territory, watch cooking demos, and make crafts with cattails at a class in Portland, part of the monthly Rewilding Free Skills Series.
- Create herbal remedies at an herbal medicine class at the California School of Herbal Studies in Forestville, California. The courses center on garden lectures, and harvesting plants and turning them into medicines in the lab.
- Mushroom festivals sprout up in late fall. The annual Wild Mushroom Show in Bellevue, Washington, displays more than 200 varieties. The fest, one of the largest in the country, also hosts programs that teach identification, how to tell poison look-alikes from edibles, and more about the fungus among us.
- For more mycological fun, attend the Fungus Fair amid the salt-brushed forests and blustery bluffs of California’s Point Reyes National Seashore. Excursions and talks offered by the seashore’s Field Institute delight enthusiasts of wild mushrooms.
- Truffles, anyone? Discover the gourmet treats hidden in their fragile forest ecosystem by sight and smell, learn about sustainable harvesting, and investigate some of the hundreds of truffle varieties that grow in southern Oregon. The experts at the Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma, Oregon, host an exploration course.
- Food researcher Pascal Baudar takes students out on monthly excursions to learn about primitive beers. In one of his most popular Urban Outdoor Skills classes, the group collects mugwort, horehound, and other aromatics near Los Angeles, then Baudar demonstrates how to brew wild-fermented beer with them.