Spring Preparations : Where, When, How

Recently I taught a basic foraging class (if you attended, thank you so much) and there were a lot of questions I had never thought about. So here I will share with you the questions and my answers to springtime foraging.

Question: When do you start preparing for spring foraging?
Answer: Groundhog’s day. 

Question: Why?
Answer: February still gives me enough time (1 month) before I start really foraging. So I have time to review my notes from last year and map out my sites for this year.

Question: How does one prepare?
Answer: I take really good notes the last season, so I review those for the best areas.
Then I map out which areas I will go back to and areas I want to explore. And I make sure I have enough bags, boxes and space for my upcoming haul! I usually have to clean my drying racks and make some small repairs to my bags.

Question: What if I am foraging for the first time?
Answer: Ask around! There are plenty of foragers out there, you just need to talk with them.

Question: How do I find someone?
Answer: Honestly, Facebook is a great place. And your local farmers market or Co-Op. And anyone can come follow me around! Ha, ha!

Question: What is the easiest spring plant to forage?
Answer: Garlic Mustard. It’s a terrible invasive, and it’s everywhere in the Midwest. So you will get a plant that tastes lovely and you are doing ecological good!

Question: What can I do with Garlic Mustard?
Answer: I only use the leaves and dispose of the roots. I use it instead of parsley on chicken or garlic mustard pesto. I have even been known to put it in a salad for a little pizzazz.

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Next week, I will share with you my garlic mustard identification tools and pesto recipe. And we will talk about how it is basically Satan’s favorite plant. 

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Foraging Spring Calendar

Every year, I write out a calendar so I feel less lost when spring hits. Between the garden and work, my March and Aprils are packed full! So if you are in the Midwest, this is a calendar for you.

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Ode to Winter & Sumacs

When Old Man Winter wakes from his annual slumber, I don my coat and my heart becomes bitterly cold. Yearly, he knocks on my door. I always turn him away and tell him that the table is set for Spring. I pray for the thaws of Spring with all of her hope and warmth. My spirit goes into hibernation until the first flower blooms with Spring’s joyful tears.

In mid January, I felt restless with the snow falling. I bundled up in search of a cure to this restlessness. As I walked around my back yard, a blaze of red caught my eye. At first I thought it was a flower, but I heard Old Man Winter laughing in the wind. As I moved in with excitement, I realized it was sumac seeds. I giddily took pictures and was filled with great joy at the beauty before me. As I walked back to the house, I began to cry as my spirit started to wake from the normal hibernation.

Sumac

In a moment, I became a vessel of gratitude. Gratitude for the season. Gratitude for the beauty of nature. Gratitude for Old Man Winter stirring my spirit.

Winter doesn’t happen TO me or you, it happens FOR us, loves.

Next post, winter’s preparations. A more technical piece on what work I do in winter to prepare for foraging in the spring.

 

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