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Unusual Edibles

I am in food heaven most of the time, and I really want to share these experiences with you!

Despite wide availability at supermarkets that we enjoy in our modern era, what you can find there is extremely limiting.  You pretty much only find things that store well, ship well, and are widely known.  What you can find at even the biggest supermarket doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the types of edible plants out there.

I have been gardening, farming, and foraging in the Bay Area for over 13 years.  I am amazed at the types of foods you can grow in our unique and amazing climate — including plants that most of you have never tasted.

So I’m trying something new this year, so that I can share this passion for ultra local food with you.  I’m starting a very small scale CSA, where you can essentially pre-order many edibles that I will either grow or forage.

The types of plants the CSA focuses on:

1. Wild plants that grow in our area.  It doesn’t get any more local, exotic, or “taste of place”/terroir than this!

2.  Unusual edibles that you cannot find at the store or restaurants that are uniquely suited to grow in our amazing Bay Area climate.

3. More common place foods, but rarer and more diverse varieties.

4. Foods that are grown in trace mineral rich soil.  Most of the world’s agricultural soils have been highly depleted of trace minerals.  These trace minerals not only make the food taste better, (stimulating the umami receptors of the taste sensation) but provide these trace minerals to our bodies in an absorbable way.  Virtually all food you can buy anywhere in the Bay Area is extremely deficient in these trace minerals.  I grow in re-mineralized soil only!

Here is a list of things that I’m taking pre-orders for:

They fall into 4 categories.

1. Plants to grow (little plants to grow yourself)

2. Seeds to plant

3. Plants to eat — a bunch of greens to consume, for instance

4. Taste — not enough to serve your family, but enough to taste to see if you like it!

Everything is $10!   

wild onion lilies (plants to grow, seeds, taste)

stinging nettles (plants to eat, plants to grow)

chickweed (plants to eat, seeds, plants to grow)

black nightshade (sunberry) (plants to grow, seeds, taste)

longevity spinach (Gynura procumbens) (plants to grow, taste)

chinese artichokes/crosnes (tubers to plant, taste)

cape gooseberries (golden berries) (plants to grow, seeds, taste)

cleavers (seeds, plants to eat)

purple tree collards (plants to grow, taste)

Bolivian cucumbers (seeds, plants to grow, taste)

aloe vera (the kind for eating) (plants to eat, plants to grow)

salad burnett (plants to eat, seeds)

wild artichokes/cardoons (plants to eat, plants to grow, seeds)

wild plums (select varieties) (fruit to eat, cuttings to graft)

autumn olive (taste, plants to grow)

More to come!  Any requests?  

If you are interested in anything above, simply email (feralkevin (at) gmail (dot) com)and we can work out the details of delivery date and payment options.

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New video!  I know it’s late, filmed back in October before all this rain when the garden was still in summer mode.

 

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Recently, I went on a bike ride here in the Diablo Valley. There are amazing bike trails, both paved and for mountain bikes all over this area. I have never been to a place with better and more diverse types of trails so close to town. One of the main reasons I love living here! And course I closely observe the flora of these trails, edible and otherwise. Right now there are all kinds of edibles,– madrono fruits, oranges and lemons of different varieties, even avocados, — as well as a lot of wild winter/spring greens. And of course olives, which I will get to soon. Other times of the year, I see numerous other edible greens, fruits, and nuts. These suburban bike trails and their surrounding wilderness areas are some of the most abundant foraging I have seen anywhere in the Bay Area.

So olives. I love olive oil and its health and flavor benefits are widely known. Cured olives I also enjoy, but honestly are just too salty for me most of the time. Curing them by any process I have ever tried or read about, seems to be not worth the effort to me, especially if done on a small scale. Pressing the oil is a similar affair, and really isn’t practical without a fairly large press machine. For both of these methods, there is also the issue of the olive fly, which infects many olives locally. I don’t know about curing with these, but I certainly have had oil go rancid extra extra quick from pressing these.

So I bike by these olive trees regularly. Some years there are heavy crops, others not so much. But there are tons of olives all around the Bay Area completely unharvested.  I usually just think about how we should be using these rather than doing much about it myself. Too bad you can’t just eat them off the trees, right?  I remember the first time I tried this, years ago. It was a terrible taste and sensation that makes your mouth scream, “poison!”

But then enter something I heard David Wolfe say. He said that he found these olives super ripe fallen off the tree in an arid area, and left to sort of dry-cure, — get super ripe on the ground. It made me think.

So this winter, I biked past a few trees with olives all over the trail. South facing so extra sun and warmth to keep them from rotting. Because of the trail they were all mostly squashed by traffic, and to be honest, kind of gross and dirty. But I thought, “Why not try them off the tree?” The olives left on the tree were partially dried, and looked similarly super ripe. I tried some from two different trees.

First I want to share with you the color. It was a deep purple, beautiful and screaming “high in antioxidants and flavor.”  The oil content was also extremely high, because the riper the fruit the more oil. I could feel the oil on my lips, which was nice as they were getting chapped from biking in the cold.  The first one was delicious but the skin was a bit tough and bitter.  The olives from the second tree had no bitterness and skin was a nice texture. These even had a hint of fruitiness and sugar!  I would say it was in the top 5 best flavor experiences of my life!  Something all lovers of food, olives, or olive oil should try!

Urban Trail Foraging: Winter Bike Tour — February 20 2016, Saturday 10am-12 pm (Walnut Creek) $25 — There are a lot of edible plants growing all around our amazing bike trails in the Diablo Valley. I would argue we  have some of the best bike trails in the world. And they cut right through a very prime growing environment for many types of plants — many of them edible.  Join me on a 5-8 mile bike tour (it’s all paved so road or mountain bike is fine) and discover all the edibles.  $25 per person.

 

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The hills are green, the sun is increasing, and it’s our best time of year for edible plants!

Urban Trail Foraging: Winter Bike TourFebruary 13 2016, Saturday 10am-12 pm (Walnut Creek) $25 — There are a lot of edible plants growing all around our amazing bike trails in the Diablo Valley. I would argue we  have some of the best bike trails in the world. And they cut right through a very prime growing environment for many types of plants — many of them edible.  Join me on a 5-8 mile bike tour (it’s all paved so road or mountain bike is fine) and discover all the edibles.  $25 per person.

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — February 27 2016, Saturday 10am-12pm (Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — March 12 2016, Saturday 10am-12pm (Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — March 20 2016, Sunday 10am-12pm (Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

Wild Edible Plant Foray and Tour — March 26 2016, Saturday 10am-12pm (Lafayette Community Park meeting spot, Lafayette) $40 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local edible wild plants in the hills East of the Caldecott tunnel.   In this class we are able to actually forage for many things!   So not only bring your learning hat, but your bags and clippers, too.

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I know each mushroom class I have been threatening to be the last of the season, but this one truly is!  Locally, the mushrooms have been a bit late this year, but past mid January, pretty much only Chanterelles are left.

Wild Mushroom Crash Course and Tour January 16, 2016, Saturday, 9:30am-12:30pm (Lamorinda, CA area) $50 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local wild mushrooms!  Get the crash course on the local fungal foraging scene and explore the area, seeing what’s fruiting in our short but often intense mushroom season!

 

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It’s been an odd year for mushrooms, but it’s still within the season. These latest round of rain storms with the increased temperatures has mushrooms coming up.  So I added another class while the season is still on, this could be the last one of the year (no more until late November 2016.)  Possibly one more on January 17.

 

Wild Mushroom Crash Course and Tour January 9, 2016, Sunday, 10am-1pm (TBA — Oakland Hills AND Lamorinda, CA area) $50 — Join Kevin Feinstein (Feral Kevin) on a guided tour of local wild mushrooms!  Get the crash course on the local fungal foraging scene and explore the area, seeing what’s fruiting in our short but often intense mushroom season!

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Our mushroom season is so short here locally, but often very intense. I feel that with our busy schedules we often miss much (or all) of it.  It is especially difficult to find locations suitable to take a large group to find and learn about mushrooms.  But many of you out there are seeing them pop up, maybe even going on your own expeditions.  So don’t know what kind they are or how to go about further investigation on your own?  Call me!  We can set up FaceTime or other video conferencing, or a simple call/text and and submission of video or pictures, probably taken from your phone. Best done live in the field, but also possible to do after your foray.  When am I available? Off and on, here and there, just like you.  If you want to schedule something in advance with me, email me.

If you just happen upon mushrooms without a plan or appointment, as often occurs, just email me immediately at feralkevin (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject “Virtual Mushroom Foraging.”  If I am available I will send you a PayPal link to purchase a live consultation as described above as well as my phone number. Three options, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour ($15, $30, and $50 respectively).  If you catch me, great, if not, then maybe next time. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are the best.

 

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Our mushroom season is so short here locally, but often very intense. I feel that with our busy schedules we often miss much (or all) of it.  It is especially difficult to find locations suitable to take a large group to find and learn about mushrooms.  But many of you out there are seeing them pop up, maybe even going on your own expeditions.  So don’t know what kind they are or how to go about further investigation on your own?  Call me!  We can set up FaceTime or other video conferencing, or a simple call/text and and submission of video or pictures, probably taken from your phone. Best done live in the field, but also possible to do after your foray.  When am I available? Off and on, here and there, just like you.  If you want to schedule something in advance with me, email me.

If you just happen upon mushrooms without a plan or appointment, as often occurs, just email me immediately at feralkevin (at) gmail (dot) com with the subject “Virtual Mushroom Foraging.”  If I am available I will send you a PayPal link to purchase a live consultation as described above as well as my phone number. Three options, 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour ($15, $30, and $50 respectively).  If you catch me, great, if not, then maybe next time. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays are the best.

 

 

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New video:

 

 

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