expanding our foraging base

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ao's picture
ao
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2009
Posts: 2220
expanding our foraging base

We have gradually been expanding the number of items we forage.  For next year, I realize I will have to be more organized and develop a more detailed and accurate chronological list of what ripens when.  I have a rough guesstimate of such a list in my head but for certain items (like thimble berries and choke berries, for example), the time frame can be more critical.  Some of the items we have foraged included:

blueberries

blackberries

strawberries

raspberries

choke berries

thimble berries

service berries

apples

pears

plums

dandelions

purslane

lambsquarters

sorrel

rose hips

morels

chaga

Not all these items are available every year, however.  Plums, which I found in great abundance last year, were virtually absent this year and I've heard from folks who have plum trees that their crops were poor to non-existent this year. 

We have also received items that were foraged in exchange for favors, my two favorite being maple syrup from someone who makes his own (some of the best I've ever tasted) and a bunch of brook trout from someone with a trout stream and beaver pond on his property (and one of the tastiest fishes available).  In addition, we are exchanging both fresh and canned vegetables and other items with other folks.  We all have somewhat different land, soil, micro-climates, etc. and what grows well for one person may not grow as well for another.  In this way, we can diversify our food sources and also improve food source security.

Anyone interested in sharing the types of items they forage for and where?  We're in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan so we have a short growing season.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
wild, rural and suburban

This year our wild foraging here in the Carolina midlands meant free dill, blackberries, and elderberries. Our rural forgaing included farm relatives that had extra grapes that would have gone to waste, extra pecans, and some pears. But our suburban foraging has been most fruitful. We have a neighbor who did not want their apples (small tree, seven quarts canned) and we gave them some preserves as a swap. There is a neighborhood church who does not want their pears: it's a huge, mature tree and we can only use a fraction of them - a couple of bushels. Another neighbor hates their fig tree and cannot get rid of it (he's tried) and pleads with us to come get his honey figs every year. We give them preserves in exchange as well. Our neighbor with the apiary trades us fig jam for honey.

I assume all but the last may not be available to us in a severe situation, but these resources mean we can save money now and use it to plant more things at home and behind the fence in the woods that border our house. While those grow to maturity, we will use the free food whenever possible.

A word about acorns. Acorn flour was used by Native Americans. It's a little bitter, but acorns are nuts and therefore more nutritious than a simple starch. When I read the EMP novel "One Second After" I was dismayed that the characters were in a SHTF condtion and surrounded by this food source and not using it. Also, it did not mention wild cherries--also known as choke cherries, Indian cherries or trash cherries. These are nutritious and dry well: lots of work since they are mostly pits, but they grow in most of the country east of the Mississippi.

Nervous Nelly's picture
Nervous Nelly
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Joined: Nov 23 2011
Posts: 209
Yesterday's Forage

Upper left Shaggy Mane, Upper right Honey Mushrooms

Bottom left Blewits, to the right a few bolets.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/p98hr8qs1l0808r/photoMush.JPG

NN

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1190
Wendy?

i bet there are some olives that would  grow in your zone. alota potential? i know GA,only one zone south has groves being est. something to consider?  Robie

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Robie, olives

True olives? 10 varieties grow in our area, and I have an alberquina in my front yard. So yes. Olives are good, but the damned thing grows so slowly! I found a place that has a mature tree (in a parking lot for a car dealership, no less) and will visit when they are ripe.

I understand "Russian olives" a.k.a. Silverberries grow wild here. They are not true olives, but the fruit is edible. Haven't seen one yet.

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Posts: 1190
"Wise is the man who plants an orchard in his old age."

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/story/2011-12-18/ol... believe thomas jefferson (a deceased neighbor of mine) is credited with the quote

Full Moon's picture
Full Moon
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Joined: Oct 14 2008
Posts: 1258
Planting in old age

I took the grandkids out plum pickin and elderberry too .    But  planted  pecan and almond trees saying to them this is their inheritance as I may never see the trees come to bare nuts .

 

  Just pluggin away at it .

FM

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 25 2009
Posts: 1190
Full Moon?

the new spell check musn't have worked for you...as a farmer your"bare nuts" means something far different that the "bear nuts" you must have intended

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