The Wild Foodies of Philly!
JOIN our free MEETUP Group!
In search of the food beneath our feet!
Welcome to The Wild Foodies of Philly! We are one of the largest 'wild edibles' foraging & education MEETUP Groups in the world. This is a collaborative effort. We are a group of wild foods enthusiasts who came together in the summer of 2010 to learn more about wild edibles, both plants and animals (although currently we focus mainly on plants). We are also interested in "wild medicinals", "wild fibers", and "preserving through drying and fermentation".
The Wild Foodies was founded in response to several serious concerns of the public, to include: the public's total reliance on cultivated foods, conventional farming practices, the use of chemicals and GMOs, and the degradation of organic standards. Wild edibles are surging in popularity worldwide in response to these concerns.
You are welcome to start your own Wild Foodies group anywhere in the world (or call it anything you like). We are here to help. You are invited to come on as many tours as you like. Some are free and some have fees. The more you tour, the more you'll learn! The important thing is for people to come together to help each other identify, discuss, and eat wild edibles. We really encourage you to keep your own scrapbook on these plants and animals. And there's lots of reference material below to get you started.
Anyone, group, or organizations can announce a meetup if you live within approximately 50 miles of Philadelphia. You do not need any knowledge of plants if you are simply organizing a group walk to learn about plants (as a collaborative exercise) and not charging a fee. If you need to control the size of the group, then you must contact me so that I can make you an "event organizer". Don't get too concerned about scheduling a meetup at the same time as other meetups. Our membership is big enough at this point that it shouldn't matter.
I do free tour leader training and also lead free private tours on weekdays for students, chefs, and other interested groups. I also do free group tours in the Art Museum/Lemon Hill area. For other tour guides, scroll down to LOCAL PROFESSIONALS & GROUPS.
Munch on! With Care!
217 S. Jessup Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
firstname.lastname@example.org / 215-629-3553
Use my cell phone only if you are late for a tour: 714-204-2690
Download our free
Wild Foodies of Philly
(geared to our region of the country, also works-in-progress, corrections & comments welcome)
Field Guide (This main guide focuses on GREENS with lots of photos, links, & notes)
Toxic Plants (photos, links, and notes)
Plant Lists (very helpful, but no notes, links, or photos)
1-page Handout (plant lists, cautions, comments, no photos or links)
Tour Guide Tips (advice for those leading tours)
Help spread the word with our calling card & postcard, or make your own. Put them on your front door, windows, cars, etc!
FIND more reference info below...
STUDY GROUPS: Open meetups are great, but we also need to build local 'wild edible' communities where we live. We have members from several states and surrounding counties, but no one knows where the other lives! So, please consider starting a Wild Edibles STUDY GROUP in your neighborhood or region. This is a great opportunity to meet people who live near you and are also interested in wild edibles. FOR EXAMPLE, just post a meetup on our page and call it "The South Philly Study Group", letting people know that your meetup is only for South Philly residents. You can also start a photo album featuring your local members. And, consider posting your meetings on community callendars and local papers. People really deserve to know about this subject which is so vital to our health and well being. One of our members started his own group in Bucks County -- http://www.meetup.com/Wild-food-foraging-in-Bucks-County/, which is another option.
GENERAL REMARKS about Wild Edible Plants:
· Respect: All plants have a purpose and it is our job to understand what it is.
· Sustainability: Wild edibles are the only truly sustainable food, as they do not need human intervention to grow.
· Attitude: Keep an open mind. Misinformation has been spread, at times. Some plants have been called poisonous when only certain elements are.
· Reference info: No one book will contain all the information on wild edibles. Refer to multiple sources and keep a notebook.
· Identification: We use at least four senses to identify plants: sight, touch, taste, and smell. Sometimes we need to scratch and sniff at roots (ex., garlic mustard), tear a leaf in half (spice bush), or roll a leaf between your fingers (mugwort) in order to capture the scent.
· Taste: Wild edibles come in a wide variety of flavors: bland, bitter, sweet, sour, spicy, mustard, garlic, onion, pepper, mushroom, etc.. The same plant can taste differently depending on soil conditions, time of year, time of day, etc.
· Invasives: Many wild edibles have been demonized as invasive plants. But, the earth is a dynamic thing. Plants and animals move about the earth on their own and with the help of humans. In fact, the earth at one time hosted but one continent, Plangea. Some say that that may happen again - http://www.livescience.com/18387-future-earth-supercontinent-amasia.html. Many invasive plants have been in America for hundreds of years (ex., plantain or plantago) and provide many important uses. How to manage invasive plants is best determined on a case-by-case basis. That said, toxic chemicals should never be used to eradicate invasive plants.
Cautions: The Wild Foodies of Philly are food enthusiasts, not experts!
· PUBLIC PARKS: We use public parks to learn to identify wild edibles, otherwise it is illegal to forage in most public parks. However, you can volunteer in their “weed warrior” programs, which can be an opportunity to forage wild edibles. In addition, there are some wild edibles, such as ramps and milkweed, which require special protection under any circumstance.
· IDENTIFY IT: Always be sure of what you are eating. If you think you know, also look up "poisonous look-a-likes". If you haven't positively identified it, don't eat it. If you want to try it anyway, check out this website -- http://www.wikihow.com/Test-if-a-Plant-Is-Edible.
· GO SLOW: Eat in moderation. See how your system processes the food. You could be allergic. Some greens pack a punch, unlike many waterlogged greens sold in stores. Many wild edibles are good as a condiment or garnish, not a main course. “Green smoothies” should also be make with extreme care, if at all. A “green drink” is a better alternative.
· CONTAMINATED AREAS: Avoid certain areas, such as next to roads, former industrial areas, etc.. Lead contamination from cars or house paint can make plants taste sweeter. If you want to grow plants for food, have the soil tested. If it is contaminated, there are plants that can remediate the soil over time.
· MILKY SUBSTANCE AND WHITE CENTRAL VEINS – If a plant leeches a milky substance from any part, avoid it (except for sow thistle and wild lettuce). For plants like dandelions, chicory, wild lettuces, the white central vein might adversely affect those allergic to latex. Therefore, eat on either side of vein first.
· EATING RAW: Make sure that whatever you eat raw, it is safe to do so. Otherwise, boil or cook it.
· OXALIC ACID: Too much oxalic acid, such as in spinach, is said to interfere with processing calcium and contribute to kidney stones. However, the U.S. National Institutes of Health have determined that the negative effects of oxalic acid are generally of little or no nutritional consequence in persons who eat a variety of foods.
· FORAGE IN THE AM - Some people say to forage in the morning when plants are at their best.
· BE CONSIDERATE - Don't forage for food that is scarce. And don't take all the berries! Save some for others - people and wild life.
GUIDEBOOKS & WEBSITES:
http://www.ediblewildfood.com/ - very helpful with well organized photos and recipes
LOCAL PROFESSIONALS & GROUPS
- http://www.meetup.com/Wild-Foodies-of-Philly/ (Lynn Landes)
- http://www.meetup.com/Nature-Studies/ (Hugh Brenner)
- New Jersey Mycological Association (mushrooms!)
- http://www.meetup.com/Philadelphia-Mushrooms/ Mycological Association of Greater Philadelphia
LOCAL FOOD FORAGERS:
- David Siller -- http://www.yosoybean.com/ also educator, fermentor, and tour guide: email@example.com / 267-319-2733 (E-mail David to be put on his mailing list to buy his foraged foods.)
- Sarah Murray (Wilmington, DE) -- firstname.lastname@example.org / http://stellaloufarm.com/category/events/ /http://www.purehealinginsight.com/classes-2/edible-and-medicinal-plants.html BLOG: http://stellaloufarm.com/
- Christopher Brown's BLOG -- http://foundationalskills.tumblr.com/
- Dan of Princeton, NJ area - http://returntonature.us/
- Vicki A. Hagel, Esquire, Lead Hearth Cook, Colonial Interpreter, Educator, Forrager, & 18th C. Seamstress at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, An 18th Century Living History Museum, In Ridley Creek State Park, Media, PA www.ColonialPlantation.org (484) 802-3253
- Tama Matsuoka Wong, Hunterdon County, New Jersey http://www.meadowsandmore.com/ Tama Matsuoka Wong is a forager, weed eater, meadow doctor , lawyer and mother of three. She is the author of the Backyard Field Guide and cookbook Foraged Flavor (Clarkson Potter June 2012). She leads workshops, lectures and events around the country and supplies local wild foods to restaurants in NYC.
LOCAL CRAFTERS IN FIBER & BASKETRY:
- Basket group locator: http://www.countryseat.com/guildsNV-SC.htm
LOCAL FOOD HISTORIAN: Anita M. McKelvey http://thephiladelphiapepperproject.wordpress.com/about-me/
LOCAL FOOD PROJECTS: Please work with your local urban garden folks and others to also grow & harvest wild edibles, because many are already there!
- http://www.phillyorchards.org SEE MAP - http://www.phillyorchards.org/orchards/map
- https://fallingfruit.org/ use to find fruit trees anywhere
- Philadelphia Food Harvest Map - http://maps.google Created in the summer of 2007 by David Siller, a farm educator for Weavers Way Farm, it now has dozens of entries, including ones with charming notes: "nice apple tree - get it before the kids do" and "feral hops on the dog park fence." http://www.philly.com/inquirer/food/
- GENDLER'S LIST of Philadelphia's Wild (not all edible) Plants: (UNDER CONSTRUCTION!) The photos are great! This is list is being re-organized to make identification for the beginner easier. So far, many of the plants to not include information on edibility. We'll work to identify those plants, or go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_plants_with_edible_leaves, although this list is in dispute. We're only about 1/3 through Gendler's List. (July 25, 2010)
- From Patrick Hurley, Ph.D. Ursinus College email@example.com Do you gather wild plants or mushrooms in Southeastern Pennsylvania? We’d like to talk with you. For more info: http://webpages.ursinus.edu/phurley/SuburbanForagingFlyer.pdf
- http://www.urbanfarming.org/ Just noticed the Triscuit connection http://www.urbanfarmi... Not sure about using them and their corporate partners who have worked against real foods, so use with caution.
WILD LIFE: pretty much just small critters and insects (entomophagy)
FIBER, BASKETRY, MISCELLANEOUS: