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Eating Your Ecosystem

Debra Redalia


Wild blackberries are abundant where we live. Sun-warmed ripe berries are a treat right off the bush in late summer.

Last week when Larry and I were celebrating his birthday, we spent a lot of time outdoors in wild habitats on the beach and nearby habitats. I loved that we had enough knowledge to identify edibles as we walked.

One memorable trail was very narrow, flanked on both side by tickets of wild raspberry in bloom. How wonderful it will be to hike that trail in June and forage the raspberries!

I have been interested in eating the wild foods of my region for more than twenty years, so I was excited to find Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine [there is a mistake in the price on this link which makes it seem unavailable but I bought my copy at a bookstore, so it’s still in print. Ask your local independent bookseller to order it for you]. It gives many wild edibles to search for and forage, along with field notes, a harvest calendar, and culinary uses. This book just made my experience easier. Too often I find edibles and then the challenge is how to eat them. While the recipes aren’t wholefood, they give me a starting point from which I can adapt and create.

If you don’t live on the West Coast but would like to start foraging, check out The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles: Learn How To Forage, Prepare & Eat 40 Wild Foods. It gives information on range, habitat, identification, edible parts and how to prepare them, cautions and warnings, when to harvest and how to do so sustainably, and how to preserve your harvest.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, I invite you to get out and explore your ecosystem and see what good things you can find to eat!