How to Go Wild

Would-be Bay Area foragers have a wealth of resources available, including expert-led foraging walks.

An outgrowth of the green-market gastronomy movement is extensive interest in foraging — from greens to wild boar.   Those interested in learning more have many available resources, including books, blogs, wild food walks, underground dinners and even iPhone apps.   Here is a sampling.

Books & Guides

– “Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast,” by Hank Shaw, in bookstores and on Amazon.

– “The Bay Area Forager,” by Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein, available at  www.bayareaforager.com

– The Bay Area Forager iPhone application, by Mia Andler and Kevin Feinstein, available on iTunes ($2.99)

– “Mushrooms Demystified” and “All the Rain Promises and More,” by David Aurora, available on Amazon.

This i-Phone app called the Bay Area Forager helps users identify 40 common wild plants.

Blogs/Websites

Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is Hank Shaw’s award-winning blog, which covers these topics and more, including many recipes. Signups for the educational foraging walks he will begin this winter will also be on the site: www.honest-food.net

– Kirk Lombard addresses locating and catching all manner of seafood in the Bay Area, including tips on where they’re biting and signups for his popular coastal tours at www.seaforager.com

– Forager Kevin Feinstein, aka Feral Kevin, offers postings, videos and signups for talks, classes and tours — mushrooms are a specialty — at www.feralkevin.com

– Educator Mia Andler includes signups for her wild-food walks at www.miaandler.com

The Mycological Society of San Francisco (MSSF) has long been an excellent resources, offering mushroom-gathering trips in the woods for members.

Organizations

– forageSF is one of the most active forage-focused groups in the region and the site is where people sign up for its foraging classes and walks, including mushroom and seafood adventures, and its popular Wild Kitchen underground dinners. A new website is being launched soon. www.foragesf.com

– The Foraging Society includes information and signups for foraging walks and seafood-focused coastal tours. The group also puts on underground dinners in Walnut Creek; sign up on the site at www.foragingsociety.org

– Around since 1950, the Mycological Society of San Francisco serves ‘shroom heads via classes, information, events and forays into local woods. www.mssf.org

Forage Oakland is one of the gleaning organizations in the region that make use of excess produce.

Gleaning Resources

Many groups exist in the Bay Area that are devoted to making sure excess and unwanted produce can go to an appreciative home.  They include:

– Neighborhood Fruit helps people find and share fruit locally, both backyard bounty and abundance on public lands.  In addition, the group now has an iPhone app to guide people toward available produce. www.neighborhoodfruit.com

– Forage Oakland is devoted to sharing the bounty in the North Oakland and South Berkeley neighborhoods. The group also conducts a popular jam and marmalade exchange to trade surplus preserves. www.forageoakland.wordpress.com

– Forage Berkeley connects visitors to excess fruit in that area through a map that pinpoints what’s available where. www.forageberkeley.blogspot.com

– Excess Alameda fruit goes to desirous locals via the Alameda Fruit Exchange. www.alamedafruitexchange.blogspot.com

Famous Danish chef Rene Redzepi of Noma in Copenhagen, left,  is here on a foraging trip in Lapland with San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson.

Restaurants

The current “best restaurant in the world” — Noma in Copenhagen — turns Scandinavian flora and fauna like scurvy grass and puffin eggs into exquisite meals and launched a trend in the process.  Some local restaurants that have served food made from foraged ingredients or hosted wild dinners include: (in San Francisco) Coi, Saison, Americano, Atelier Crenn; and Manresa in Los Gatos.

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