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MORAN: Best produce in the world surrounds you in the woods and meadows

The author is pictured next to his tent holding a pair of porcini mushrooms.
August 17, 2016 - 1:55 PM

OPINION


Today I am writing this from somewhere in B.C. For obvious reasons the exact location will remain undisclosed. If you have to try looking, my advice is to enter the forest next time you have a bathroom break on a B.C. road trip.

In this area, there are campers, RVs, motor homes (I am the only one using a tent), and a whole bunch of hunters. During their stay in the bush they will sustain themselves with classic camp foods: corn, hot dogs, canned food, marshmallows — you know the stuff. They man even eat the occasional lettuce salad with ranch dressing from the nearest grocery store.

If you didn’t already know, these foods will only fill your stomach. They have no benefits beyond that, except in survival situations. Clearly the recreation folk have no idea the best produce in the world is surrounding them.

Right now, across B.C. (south, north, central, it is all great) the woods and meadows are brimming with delicious, sustainable, nutritious foods. My two favorite are the king bolete mushrooms (or porcini mushrooms) and huckleberries. And in this case, they are growing side by side.

Huckleberries and a porcini mushroom.
Huckleberries and a porcini mushroom.

To me, it is a huge folly to bring the family out to the wild and eat modern processed foods while surrounded by the bounty of nature.

There are limitations though.

The bull trout are abundant in the creek but if we all started fishing they would be wiped out in days.

They are still an amazing symbol of the vibrant health of the surrounding ecosystem.

Bull trout in a creek near the author's campsite.
Bull trout in a creek near the author's campsite.

After a spring and summer spent accumulating nutrients from eating our local wild greens (dandelion, nettles, miner's lettuce) it is time to move on to summer foods.

Mushrooms and berries are perfect for the transition of a seasonal diet from spring to summer. These are energy foods, they help us process intense sunlight, and if you eat enough, the nutrients prepare your body for a long winter, just like a bear.

I spent twenty minutes in the berry patch this morning having my breakfast and am feeling ready to hike and pick the mushrooms I’ll bring back to the Okanagan.

As far as I can tell, the surrounding campers haven't left their camps yet, except on an ATV. I feel very disconnected from the average camper because I am participating in the environment, not just recreating a modern existence out in the bush.

Porcini mushrooms on bridge near the author's campsite.
Porcini mushrooms on bridge near the author's campsite.


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