Foraging in North Carolina
October 17th, 2014
Foraging is a growing pastime in many places, but “nowhere is it more visible than in Asheville, N.C.,” said Jayne Clark in The Washington Post. The university city, “a bastion of laid-back cool cradled in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” has an active mushroom club and the nation’s first “edible park,” which encourages visitors to sample the fruits and nuts on its trees.
Being a novice, I join a three-hour wild food adventure tour led by Alan Muskat, the city’s “foremost evangelist of ‘find’ dining.” We meet on this occasion at Laughing Frog Estate, a retreat about 30 minutes from Asheville. Muskat is soon pointing out wild sorrel and chickweed and claiming that a person could eat about 90 percent of forest plants without suffering ill effects. Freed to scavenge on our own, some of us pick autumn olive berries, others purslane. Muskat can’t identify three intriguing berries I find, so I throw them back. “Odds are, they won’t kill me. But you never know.”