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Moran: Foraging for food can be a family affair

October 26, 2016 - 12:30 PM

In several of my columns I have mentioned my first forage, collecting morel mushrooms in the Fly Hills of Salmon Arm 17 years ago.

Today I am taking it back a generation.

My Dad grew up in Wiarton, Ont. and every year his six children were taken to the maple forests on the Bruce Peninsula for the annual morel hunt. Whoever found the first mushroom got a nickel.

This annual morel hunt wasn't the beginning or the end of foraging in my family history. Today I am selling our local mushroom crop at the Kelowna Farmers’ Market. I can be found there every Saturday in spring, summer and fall under the banner Everything Wild.

My great grandmother was the local expert on wild edibles in her Austrian village. They experienced a depression in the 1930s and survived on what could be collected. She would sell in the village and this kept things going for her family.

All families in North America have a history of foraging. At a certain point in time, mostly the 20th century, this history was lost. We were fortunate to have that one day in the year where my father and his siblings roamed the woods in Southern Ontario as if on an Easter egg hunt. This kept foraging alive in our family, and beginning in the late 1990s it became part of our lifestyle. Some people hunt, some fish, we pick mushrooms.

It is worth mentioning that I am not the only in my generation whose career has been influenced by our hobby. My older brother was interested in cooking from a very young age and our background in foraging has been a major influence.

Parents, if you would like your children to have a greater appreciation for food and nature, get out to the woods or fields and consume something that hasn't been planted.

Mushrooms can be a bit daunting, but there are always dandelions.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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