This past weekend I went on a nostalgic romp through the woods…looking for dinner. As the leaves turn colour and the weather notches lower on the thermometer, I hear the call of my European roots to head into nature in search of some edible treasures. So I grabbed the boy, a basket and some rubber boots and made for the wilds of Southern Ontario.
Just so we are clear, I had no idea where I was going or what I was looking for. And I had a hard time quieting the boy’s concern that my lack of knowledge might kill us. To calm both our fears I decided to call for reinforcements. Step in Peter Blush, master forager from Stratford and founder of Puck’s Plenty, a foraging tour company. Peter is a renaissance man of sorts. A former news correspondent for the Viet Nam war who moved to Quebec to run a B&B, then turned to a new interest in foraging while becoming a writer with a novel short listed for the Robertson Davies Prize. In short, the most perfect and knowledgeable guide I could find.
Peter, along with his dogs Liam and Faolan, leads foraging events every weekend pretty much year round. Although there is a cost involved, he never lacks participants and most events sell out quickly. On this sunny morning, he led a group of ten, most of whom turned out to be European, in search of mushrooms, wild leaks, and wild ginger.
Keeping my eyes peeled for goodies spread out by mother nature under our feet, I breathed the fresh crisp air. As the wind played through the woods rustling the leaves and making the trees creak, I stomped bravely through mud and streams mindful of the path set by our guides.