Sunday, May 29, 2011

foragesf's wild food walk

yesterday when the rain was coming down, i was looking outside my window....muttering to myself "oh hell no am i going to be out in that kind of weather for a foraging walk". despite the appeal of wanting to learn more about local edible plants on one of foragesf's wild food walks, the thought of being cold and wet was supremely unappealing. i even went as far to mention this on twitter.

then i get a response from the sassy ms.tablehopper indicating that she was planning on attending the walk and strongly suggested that i wear proper gear and still attend. my knowing that she was going to be there too was motivation enough for me to go digging around my closet for something to wear in the rain. i found an old coat that i hadn't worn...in like...8 years...that would work, my $10 rain boots i bought during an epically long rainy season we had a long time ago, as well as a beaten up sf giants ball cap that i bought for myself as a bday present...back in the day when the park first opened. so yeah, i changed my mind about not attending and found the appropriate gear.

thankfully though, when this morning came....it was bright and sunny. i almost tweeted "i guess i don't need my rain gear after all" but didn't....as i didn't want to jinx it. yeah, for such a left-brained driven person i have been known to have superstitious moments. so it was bright and sunny when i headed out to the meeting place of the forage sf walk. i had forgotten that carnaval is happening...and since quite a few lines run through the mission, there were some muni delays happening. as a result, i grabbed a cab instead of taking muni as i didn't want to be late for the class/walk. since i took a cab, i was a wee bit early so i found a local cafe and just hung out for a bit until the class started....

and then headed over to the meeting point at the appropriate time. i was looking forward to the walk as well as having a chance to chat with ms. tablehopper.

once the walk/class started, our instructor was kevin feinstein of feralkevin. he was a very enthusiastic instructor who was like a non-stop running database of information about plant families, their nutritional aspects, various ways to prepare different plants, and what he thought was tasty.

he covered plants such as miner's lettuce.....

which i have had before and it is quite yummy. he indicated that every part is edible and it doesn't get bitter. while it is typically eaten raw, they can be cooked as well. he suggested that folks could try the older ones cooked. he also mentioned that a typical rule is never take more than 1/3 of a plant and never pull as you may pull the root up....instead....take what you are harvesting by cutting it.

he also showed us chickweed .....
which can be found with miner's lettuce and you can also identify by the hairs running down on one side.

the poison hemlock....


which is poisonous. i think he spent time on this because where one finds things like minor's lettuce and chickweed, one also finds poison hemlock. key things to look for are how the leaves look like carrot tops and there are purple stains on the stalks.

he also covered nasturtium....


which i have also had before and i do enjoy the peppery flavor.

wild oats...
which seems there is some nugget of truth to the"sowing your wild oats" saying.

wild radish where the flowers are often used and the pods....

the pod is supremely yummy. just yummy.
tasting the wild radish pod was just one highlight of the walk. the other key highlights included chatting with ms. tablehopper as well as watching our instructor totally nerd-out. i must admit that i had a good time just watching him totally be passionate and nerd out while talking about the plants. it is pretty obvious that he loves what he does. if you have a chance to take one of his classes/walks, i recommend that you do so.

the walk ended about the time when he was talking about ginko.....
i have so many pages of notes....there are also a few other plants he covered that i haven't mentioned....but i really think the true benefit comes from attending....as you get the rapid fire (which i prefer) running commentary as well.

admittedly, when i signed up for the class, i did have a teeny tiny bit of apprehension that the instructor was going to be one of those uber boho hippie types that would talk about saving the planet through local foraging and living in a tent or something. while i can totally respect those folks beliefs, i just didn't want to listen to one for two hours. so hence, i was very relieved when i realized our instructor was an intense uber plant nerd who also seemed to have a passion for making it into tasty food as well. it was rather endearing. i have a soft spot for smart people. btw, i mean this all in the utmost respectful way....i say this as the last thing i need is for someone's jealous significant other to try to track me down through the world wide interwebs.



forage sf - http://foragesf.com/ forage sf -wild food walks page - http://foragesf.com/wild-food-walks/ kevin feinstein's page - http://feralkevin.com/ - and youtube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/feralkevin#p/u/37/AG_vngO5fGY

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