Tag Archives: Sam Thayer

The Finest Wildfood in North Carolina..

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After having a great time at last year’s West Virginia Wildfood Weekend,     https://bigpigblog.com/2013/09/25/west-virginia-wild-food-weekend/, I have decided to make visiting a regional wildfood festival an annual trip. My son is due somewhere in August, and being new to fatherhood, my wife politely informed me that post August is a “No-travel” time for us. No big deal as the North Carolina Wildfood Festival was this past weekend.     http://ncwildfoodsweekend.com/

 

This was the 39th year for the festival and both my wife and I felt it was very well organized and run. We were only able to attend the Saturday events and missed out on Sam Thayer’s 2-part presentation on Friday evening on making maple syrup, but got to hear some of his tips during his plant walk in the morning.

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There were six different leaders for the foraging walks, some with 38 years of attendance under their belt. After the morning foraging trip and lunch, all participants gathered into separate groups to process and prepare the evening meal. The simple rule is “You gotta work, if you want to eat.” and the leader of each group handed out a meal card after the prep time. My wife and I worked on the Vegetable crew, processing and cooking pokeweed, bamboo shoots, day lilies, chickweed, sheperd’s purse, and greenbrier tips.

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The other groups were Appetizers, Salads, Desserts, Beverages, Meats, and Breads, and I rolled around to each snapping pics when I could.

Daylily shoots being processed for stir-fry…

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Pokeweed, chickweed, sheep sorrel, and various flowers  being processed…

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Guest speaker and author, Leda Meredith hard at work…

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Ramp time…

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Thistle stalks before frying…

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Bamboo-pokeweed spring rolls…

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The meat brigade..

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The Wildfood Feast kicked off around 6:30 and saying it was impressive would be an understatement. Somewhere between round one and two, my phone must have got a little greasy.

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I made three trips through so I could try everything and was stuffed. My wife’s top pick was the Wildflower Scone and my sweet tooth picked the persimmon ice cream. Dinner wound down and the evening speaker was Leda Meredith, a well known forager and food preservation specialist. Her speech inspired my wife and I to start storing more of our harvest from foraging.

I walked away with her book, Northeast Foraging, http://www.amazon.com/Northeast-Foraging-flavorful-edibles-wineberries/dp/1604694173/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736119&sr=8-1&keywords=leda+meredith, that I bought specifically for the preservation tips specific to each species. We also bought some spiles and a half gallon of maple syrup off the Thayers, learned a few new plants, but most importantly met some great new friends that we will be returning to visit with from here on out.

Thanks to all the organizers, leaders, and participants for a great event.

Muscadine Blickey

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I hiked up the hill to take a new picture for the website. Every staged picture needs a few props, so I grabbed my axe, knife, and a bark berry basket. After taking some shots, I headed out the ridge and was glad I brought the basket.

Earlier in the summer, I taught my step-daughter and wife how to make poplar bark baskets before a camping trip. We used them to pick blueberries and huckleberries on the island for “Berry” bannock. I used Sam Thayer’s “blickey” concept for mine and liked the two hands free benefit. I will post a tutorial on making these baskets in the future.

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Today, I found out another benefit after loading up with muscadines. I kept it on while hiking back to the house and was able to munch on them the whole way back. Being a good forager, I would pop one in my mouth and then spit the seeds out to start new vines in the future.

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If you have ever sat around a campfire, you know that it becomes a “primitive TV”. Like staring at clouds, you can see animals, shapes, and even faces. Capturing one of those faces on film is always a good surprise.

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