Dandelion Hunter: Review and Giveaway

Disclosures: There are Amazon affiliate links from which I may make a commission. The giveaway prizes are provided courtesy of Globe Pequot Press who also provided me a review copy.

Springtime brings with it a new abundance, and not just in the garden. From stinging nettles to ramps to Japanese knotweed, useful and edible wild plants may be growing right under your nose -- even if you live in a city. 

In "Dandelion Hunter," Rebecca Lerner of the blog First Ways recounts her experiences as an urban forager in Portland, Oregon. Even in the fecund Pacific Northwest, she encountered an unexpected learning curve. In her first attempt to subsist solely on wild foods, she made the mistake of assuming that nature would offer itself up like a buffet of ready-to-harvest treats. It didn't. 

Realizing that a diet dependent on wild foods required more foresight than popping out to the local grocery store, she deepened her knowledge of edible plants, building a pantry of foraged foods. Along the way she encountered a charming menagerie of Portlandian characters, fellow foragers, artists, herbalists. With the help of these wise souls, her relationships to the plants evolved. Going beyond basic edibles, Lerner explored various plants' usefulness as medicine and tools. 

Through Lerner's eyes Portland unfolds like a pop-up book of useful plants. What to the lay person's eye might look like weeds emerging from a crack in the pavement or the impenetrable thicket of an overgrown yard becomes a virtual Garden of Eden. The plants leap out to her, speak to her. Indeed, by the end, they become nearly human. After reading this book, you may think of your next trip to the park as more of a family reunion.

It's an engaging read, and I want you to enjoy it. Lucky for you, I have not just one but two copies to get into your eager little hands. Here's what you do: 

Simply scroll down and leave a comment, telling of a foraging experience. One lucky commenter will win a copy.

But wait, there's more: Click here to tweet about this post, or pin this post on Pinterest (make sure the book cover image gets pinned so we can find it). All comments, tweets and pins must be logged by midnight PDT, May 3.

archaeology snails

Working as an archaeologist in Louisiana during hurricane recovery survey I waded through many swamps and fields. While chatting with an orange farmer, I noticed the canals that ran through the groves were full of what appeared to be fallen oranges. Mr Farmer happened to remark about the snails came with the new Vietnamese workers and they were starting to become a pest.
A quick look on my mobile confirmed apple snails.
We passed through that property and onto the next only to find more. I filled my lunch pack with two dozen that day and more the next. The snails were purged on applesauce for a day and sauteed up butter and forest onions the next.
I really impressed myself that summer.

Wanting To Get Started

I actually have not done much foraging - but I want to! We go out for walks all the time and I always wish I could ID everything I was seeing.

Just Started Foraging Yesterday!

I just went on my very first edible plant walk yesterday and it was flippin' amazing! I've always been a major plant geek, but just never managed to get past growing my own food in a garden. Using japanese knotweed in place of rhubarb? Pesto made from garlic mustard? Total revelation. I'm a convert for life :)

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