The Food Beneath Our Feet
Plough to Pantry
Asheville’s No Taste Like Home is a hands-on learning opportunity for those eager for knowledge about wild edibles. Director Alan Muskat shares his knowledge of foraging in general and mushrooms in particular during three-hour forays at selected – and secret – spots in the region. Supplies needed are simple: a basket, bags and a knife with a brush on the end. Besides these tangibles, Muskat says, foragers also need guidance and practice. After a foray, he says, he likes for people to leave with a “5” on the “1-10 foraging fear meter” — not terrified, but not over-confident either.
Mushrooms have healing properties, Muskat says, and are 10 to 100 times better than cultivated food as nourishment and medicine. A recent wild food foray yielded turkey tail mushroom, which grows year-round on dead trees, logs and branches, and has beeen studied widely for the immunity-boosting properties of its polysaccharides. “Mushrooms provide an immune tonic,” says Muskat, “since we all have the potential for cancer”…
No Taste Like Home partners with four area restaurants offering ‘find dining.’ Tour participants – at the end of their foray and after Muskat has examined their mushrooms and plants – take them to a chef for expert preparation.