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Alan Muskat has been teaching urban school kids how to forage wild food, funded by after school programs:
and I”ve been teaching organic farmers how to forage on their own land to standing-room-only crowds. With chickweed selling for $12 a pound and lettuce going for one or two dollars a pound, I’ve been advising farmers that when they plant a lettuce bed and chickweed starts to come up, they should just weed out the lettuce.
Many of these wild edible crops are ripe for the same kind of breeding attention that turned other wild plants into our standard vegetables. But where are the universities on this?
Also, generally when someone introduces you to a wild plant and it doesn’t taste good, it’s not because it’s wild– it’s going to be for one of these reasons: 1) it’s out of season (who likes asparagus picked in summer?), 2) it’s not at peak harvest stage (unripe apples anyone?), 3) it needs to be cooked right–I mean how many of us would be excited about raw eggplant?
An important point is that most foragers are not chefs or even very good cooks. When you can find the rare forager who is a good cook or better yet a chef, you’ve found gold, as these wild crops deserve more attention. When prepared well, you can knock people’s socks off.
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