Tag Archives: foragers

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

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