Mushroom Magic, Mushroom Gold

Sadly not available online, but if you’re a contemporary art fan, check out the Spring “Walking”-themed edition of C Magazine of International Contemporary Art, including a short piece I wrote about the everyday artistry of pro mushroom pickers.

Time for a New Wild Food Season!

The sun is out, the ground is warming up…sometime soon the first wild greens, like wild leeks and fiddleheads, will be up. Perhaps buried under the snow. But we can hope!

If you’re thinking to get out and do some foraging, be sure to check out my post on Field Guides for Ontario and Toronto Foragers or keep an eye out for spring foray announcements on the homepage of the Mycological Society of Toronto.

How Commercial Wild Mushroom Pickers­ Harvest Huge Quantities—And Why

I’ll be giving a guest lecture at the Mycological Society of Toronto‘s November 18th meeting:

How Commercial Wild Mushroom Pickers­ Harvest Huge Quantities—And Why

Ten pounds of wild edible mushrooms is a big haul for most hobbyist foragers. But for a professional picker, it’s a sign it’s time to find a new patch. Their livelihood depends on securing substantial quantities of morels, chanterelles, pine mushrooms or other edible varieties, for days and months on end. Focusing on how they accomplish this feat, this talk provides an introduction to the Canadian wild food trade. Focusing on why, it reveals the social, environmental and economic values motivating this unique form of forest industry. Continue reading

Ontario and Toronto Foraging Field Guides (Edible Mushrooms, Wild Berries, Edible Plants)

Welcome Ontario Today listeners (and everyone else)!

Interested in hunting for your own wild edibles? A field guide is a must to ensure you can properly identify what is safe to eat, and what is poisonous. Here are some suggestions for field guides that will help you find, identify and enjoy wild, foraged foods in Toronto and in Ontario. Continue reading

Wild Food Spring #1: A Natural Science of Cooking

ImageI review the latest Mugaritz cookbook today in The Toronto Review of Books, first in my spring-time series on cookbooks, memoirs and fictions about wild-foraged foods.

Behind a Forager, the Pickers: Wild Food Production’s Other Side

Wild food harvesting is piece-work.

Wild food harvesting is piece-work.

Foraged foods from the wilderness are this year’s hottest trend in natural, ethical eating. They’re lauded as more organic than organic: after all, they grow in the wild, where there aren’t just ‘approved’ pesticides and fertilizers, but none whatsoever. Growing of their own volition, these native species don’t need a farmer to tame them—and perhaps warp their purity, sapping them of taste and nutrient value.

Wild food is also, paradoxically, celebrated as the most local of foods, though the wild was once upon a time the most remote and alien of places. Continue reading

A Treasure Trove in the Canadian Wilderness: One of the Top 25 SSHRC Stories

Just found out I was chosen as one of the Top 25 Storytellers in the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)’s “Storytellers: Research for a Better Life” contest.

I told a three-minute story about my research into the Canadian wild food trade. Click the play button below to hear it, or download the MP3.