There’s something special about foraging!

Jun 7, 2024 | 0 comments


Salmonberries — Ripe Now!

It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re out on the ocean beach with 5,000 other people digging razor clams or off in the woods by yourself hunting that elusive mushroom, foraging seems to satisfy something deeply rooted within us all.  It’s one of the magical bounties of living here at “the beach” — or almost anywhere along the coast of Washington — that enriches our lives season after season from the time we are children.

For those who know what they are doing, we live in a shroomers’ paradise.

In recent years, I’ve not done much foraging.  I still (knock wood) walk well without stick or cane, but uneven footing and uncertain balance stops me from wandering off the beaten path.  So, early this morning when my doorbell rang oh so urgently and I grabbed my bathrobe to find out “what the…” — you can’t imagine my surprise at seeing a bundle of freshly picked goose tongue greens, washed and trimmed and wrapped tenderly in a plastic bag RIGHT THERE ON MY DOORSTEP!  The forager, himself, was just leaving and I was able to tell him of my pleasure!

A Basket of Goose Tongue Greens

Do you know goose tongue greens?  I think Lucille Wilson (mother of the Ark restaurant) first showed me where they grow — when I was a teenager. Says the internet: Goose tongue greens, also known as Plantago maritima, are the fleshy, narrow leaves of a low-lying herb that grows in coastal wetlands. The leaves are thick, succulent, and have a mild, salty flavor. Goose tongue is also known as sea-plantain and saltgrass, and can be found in Alaska, Arctic regions, Europe, northwest Africa, parts of Asia, and South America.  (I guess we count as part of northwest Alaska?)  I also saw on the www that goose tongue greens are available from an outfit in Maine for $60 — but it didn’t say how many you get for that price.  And there is free shipping — which no doubt makes all the difference,

Where Wild Blackberries Grow Are Well ept Secrets

I think my earliest memories of foraging involved picking salmonberries or blackberries.  And when I was old enough to pick for money — ten cents for one of those little berry boxes full — I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It wasn’t the money as much as the discovery of places where you could fill two or three or even four boxes without moving more than a foot or two in any direction!

On My Doorstep

Truly.  I think it is a visceral satisfaction that resonates from our deepest DNA — before the agricultural revolution which, you might not remember, occurred about 10,000 BCE.  Until then, for 2.5 million years, we humans had fed ourselves by gathering plants and hunting animals that lived without our intervention. (We didn’t decide where fig trees would take root or in which meadow a herd of sheep should graze or which billy goat would inseminate which nanny goat.)  And then there occurred what Yuval Noah Harari describes as “History’s “Biggest Fraud.”  But I digress… I’ve suggested before that you read  his book, Sapiens, A Brief History of Humankind.

Until then… keep foraging or, if you are lucky like I am, count your blessings for having forager friends who share!


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