Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are your tours like?
2. What’s the difference between the regular and mini-tour?
3.  Where do we meet?
4.  Why aren’t we told where we are going when we register?
5.  When is the best time of year to participate?
6. How strenuous are the tours?
7. Do we get to eat what we find?
8. What should I not expect on a public tour?
9. Are children allowed?
10. Do you sell gift certificates?

Infrequently Asked Questions

1. What are your tours like?

Our regular tours are three hours long and take place at a variety of locations within 20-40 minutes of downtown Asheville. We will gather wild plants, and if they are out, mushrooms as well. At the end, we cook up a sampling. Full-length tours include our introductory e-book, photos from your excursion, and the option to take your wild finds to one of our six partner restaurants, where they will turn your foraged ingredients into a free appetizer.

Our mini-tour is one and a half hours long and takes place on the grounds of the Omni Grove Park Inn, 5 minutes from downtown Asheville. You will meet at least half a dozen edibles, and you have the option to have dinner at the Omni’s sunset view restaurant, Vue 1913, including a free appetizer featuring with the wild foods you just met.`

Our private tours are generally three hours long and similar in format to the full-length tour, but can be tailored to your interests. For example, if you would prefer to take a longer hike (our tours are usually no more than a third of a mile over level ground), or focus on medicinal uses of wild plants, etc, we can do that for your group. Private tours start at $450 for up to six adults (and $75 for each additional adult).

For more info, see below.

2. What’s the difference between the regular and mini-tour?

Mini Tour Regular Tour
 LOCATION  The Omni Grove Park Inn  a variety of natural areas
  minutes from downtown Asheville 5 15-45*
 DAYS  Thursdays and Fridays  Wednesdays & Saturdays
(other days by request)
 TIMES

March 12th to November 5th
November 6th to March 11th

 

4-5:30
3:30-5

 

9:30-12:30
1:30-4:30

 FEATURES

experts lead all ages and abilities

foraging plants & maybe mushrooms

restaurant appetizer with your finds

at The Grove Park Inn

 or at five other restaurants

  • cooking demo and tasting

  • optional cooking class

  • photos

  • e-book

 

 

  COST** $40/adult
$15/child
$75/adult
$30/child

*directions & and other details upon booking
**prices are a suggested donation; proceeds fund our youth program

3. Where do we meet?

Note that pre-registration is required for all tours.

Full-length tours meet on site. Directions are posted by 7 pm the night before the tour here.

Mini-tours meet at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

4.Why aren’t we told where we are going when we register?

We can’t always announce where we’re going sooner than the night before because often, we don’t know. Like a snorkeling trip, we go where the conditions are best. If it threatens to rain, we may go someplace else.

There is a reason hunter-gatherer societies are nomadic. When you choose to forage, it’s Mother Nature that sets the itinerary.

5. When is the best time of year to participate?

In Asheville, the main wild foods season runs from about mid-April to mid-October. For winter tours, see here.

Everything has its season, and that’s part of the charm of eating seasonal foods. But that also means that you won’t see everything in one visit. There are over 125 edibles that can be found around Asheville in the course of a season, and that’s just the common ones. Only about thirty, however, will be out at a given time. This is why we offer season passes.

Generally speaking, in spring there are flowers and greens, in summer and early fall, there are fruits and mushrooms, and in the autumn, there are roots, nuts, and seeds. But there’s always a mix of everything: morel mushrooms are gathered in late April, rose of sharon flowers come in midsummer, and chickweed and nettle greens come back in the Fall. For a month-by-month tour of the richest temperate bioregion in the world, see here.

6. How strenuous are the tours?

old and bold (age 94)

Most people are surprised at how easy our tours are. Our mini-tours are easy strolls right on the grounds of The Omni Grove Park Inn. On our full-length tours, we rarely cover more than half a mile though fairly flat terrain. There are times when the group is given the opportunity to spread out and see what they can find, but participants are invited to travel only as far as they are comfortable.

Note that we do frequently go off-trail as a group, where it can be brushy, the ground is often uneven, and there are fallen branches to step over and rocks to watch out for. If you have any concerns, please check with us.

Also, there are several points on the tour at which we may spend up to half an hour in one spot. If anyone in your party would have trouble standing for that long and would not be comfortable sitting on the ground, we have light folding chairs we can bring along. Just let us know and we would be happy to accommodate you.

If you schedule a private tour, we will choose where we go and what we do to match the needs and preferences of your group. If you want a rugged hike to a remote, secluded swimming hole, we can do that. If you want a short drive and an easy walk to a waterfall, we can do that too; there are over one hundred waterfalls in Western North Carolina to choose from!

7. Do we get to eat what we find?

Our full-length and private tours include a tasting, a follow-up cooking class option, and a free appetizer at one of six local restaurants featuring your “catch of the day.”

Our mini-tours include a free appetizer featuring the wild foods you just met, available with dinner at the Omni Grove Park Inn.

8. What should I not expect on a public tour?

For one, this is not a hike. Also, we don’t just go to the woods; we spend time in meadows as well, especially in Winter and Spring.

Mushrooms are not always out, but we always find at least a dozen wild edibles. Still, this is a tour, not a workshop; you won’t learn everything in a day.

Tours include a tasting, not a meal, but a local restaurant will prepare your finds for free.

If you want to hike, to be just in woods, to focus only on mushrooms, to focus on harvesting, to learn as much as possible, or to make a meal together, consider a private tour.

9. Are children allowed?

It’s important to start children foraging early. Toddlers put everything in their mouths anyway!

We allow children of all ages to attend — with the following three requirements:

• on public tours, caregivers must take children out of earshot if they are crying or otherwise disruptive to the group. Please do not wait for us to ask you to do so.

• you must make it very clear to your child that they must not taste anything unless specifically instructed to do so.

• you are responsible for keeping a careful eye on your child throughout the tour.

Although 99% of plants and mushrooms are harmless, there are several in our area that, if swallowed, are potentially deadly, even in small amounts. Please watch — and educate — your children.For more to be aware of when foraging with us, see here.

10. Do you sell gift certificates or season passes?

Yes. Gift certificates can be used on our public tours by anyone anytime. We also offer season passes, which allow one person to join us on 4, 6, 8, or any number of tours through the season. When you purchase a gift certificate or season pass you will receive instructions on how to redeem your credit.

You can register for a public tour here. The tour you attend must take place within a year of the certificate date of purchase.

If you have any questions, contact us.