I love to eat. For me, eating things which I have produced myself is very satisfying. I value the cultural significance of seasonal agricultural rituals of germination, bloom and harvest. I find, that at any moment in the course of a year, there are always wildcraftable edibles that may be found, with a little luck and preparation.
I consider the foraging year to start when I dig my first ramp in January. These are ramp bulbs that I collected growing with a scarlet cup fungus (in the Sarcoscypha coccinea complex, this is a beautiful ascomycete). Many times I have enjoyed this fungus, added to ramps and peppers and jersualem artichokes stuffed into a whole dressed chicken, wrapped in foil and baked in the coals of a hot campfire. That said, some authorities consider it inedible so don't experiment on my account!
The advent of ramp season makes me think of morels. Here is a typical forest habitat where we have found hundreds and hundreds of Morchella elata, the early (black) morel.
As spring commences, the ramps get larger and pop out of the ground. This is my favorite time to eat them raw, dressed with cheddar cheese, black dirt and a sparkly beverage.
The onset of morel time is a great time for my family, who love to hunt them as much as I! After living in Knoxville for a few years, Jill and Fox and I have learned several productive and beautiful spots to hunt.
We like to take notes and remember where we have been so that we can return in the proper season! Fox is good at this!
A good muscadine patch is worth marking on your GPS or a map!
One of the last edible mushrooms of the year is Grifola frondosa, which can make enormous fruiting bodies. We hunt them under oak trees, and if you find one under a specific tree you will probably find fruits under that tree in succeeding years. What a delicious way to welcome the fall! Jill is excited about this one!