Notes from Saturday’s urban foraging workshop

OKT hosted urban foraging workshops at the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market last Friday and Saturday. Market manager Yvonne Woodard presented on Friday. On Saturday, Kristin Tindall from Blandford Nature Center, shared her amazing expertise.

Laura Cassaletto attended Saturday’s workshop and sent along these notes.



Kristin brought a variety of plants to the Urban Foraging training, but we were able to find virtually all of them by walking a few feet along the Gerald Ford school’s fenceline.  Even in the mowed grass, we found and nibbled on tangy sorrel and mustards and purslane.  There was an abundance of lamb’s quarters on the property, which might have been a good boiled green if it had not all been converted from meristem to fibrous tissues.  The leaves of still-tender plants are “stretchy,” not ligneous.  I was glad to see this demonstrated and explained in helpful scientific terms which translate to lunch.

Dandelion greens

We also discussed scouting out your territory for food plants as the seasons roll by, since some plants are easier to spot when not at their tastiest.  I agreed with the African American ladies present, who were most interested in cooking up a “mess” of greens whenever possible, not just a lone serving.  The useful technical term here would be a “stand” of one species.

Chicory and Queen Anne’s lace are two species which are easy to spot in their second year, when they send up

Queen Anne’s Lace

their tall flower stalks, but taste best in the first year.  There are more ways to eat these two pretty weeds than I knew!  We also talked about eating milkweed and mulberry leaves.  Two participants chewed up long narrow plantain leaves from the lawn and applied them to bug bites for instant relief.  Plantain (not the banana) can be found in abundance in both broad and narrow varieties, both a good poultice.

I took notes and I am glad I did.  We learned also about staghorn sumac, Japanese knotweed, amaranth,

Brew staghorn sumac fruit to make pink “lemonade”

elderberries, and daylilies.  In my foraging notebook I usually draw a picture of each plant I work with.  Just like the faces of your friends, every plant is uniquely distinctive and I never fear mistaking one for another once we become acquainted.