For me, foraging is far more than a healthful and interesting hobby. At times, my physical well-being depends upon foraged foods.
I’m a forager and also a fisherman. I forage for food and for fun. I fish for food and fun. In both instances, notice that food comes first. A more fitting label for me might include the term “hunter-gatherer,” or perhaps the title that Euell Gibbons used so frequently, “neo-primitive forager.”
Let me cite an example of why, for me, foraging is much more than just a fun exercise in the outdoors. It looks as though I might need to empty my bank account and perhaps even borrow money to pay my income taxes. That will put me in the red for at lest several weeks. In the meantime, my frozen and canned food from last season is running low.
Fortunately, fish are biting and I can count upon that with some degree of regularity. Sure, the wild fish that I catch and cook myself are great, better than the farm-raised product we might buy in the store. But to tell the truth, I probably couldn’t afford to buy the store-bought kind if I wanted it. I do enjoy the Maine-raised Atlantic salmon, too, but it is so very expensive.
And ditto for vegetables. Fresh vegetables are priced way too high for me. But now, dandelions, evening primrose and several other wild greens are coming into season and they can and shall complement my fresh-caught fish.
I saw some groundnuts (potato substitute) along the riverside the other day, but getting to them was a formidable challenge. So I must wait for the water to recede a bit before harvesting my prize. When that happens, I’ll take photos and post them here, of course.
But back to foraging as a way of life. Simply put, I could not afford not to forage. And yes, my foraged food is of higher quality than commercially produced. In fact, most of what I gather cannot be bought…it must be picked, fresh, from nature.
So being a forager by dint of necessity has its ups and downs. For me, I couldn’t get by without foraged foods. And that, I think, is probably a good thing.