The Wild

The WildThings

Foraging for food was a way of life for our ancestors, a necessary survival skill that required equal parts prowess and respect for the land. A new generation of hunters and gatherers— call them urban foragers, backyard pickers, or supply chain disruptors—are learning how to identify and prepare food from nature’s buffet table. One of the truths they are learning is that it is a delicate ecosystem. “You have to remember that these plants are here for all of us, including the wildlife,” one Hoosier forager says. Deer and mice can’t just run to the grocery store to get more food when they’re running low. To fill in some of the etiquette—and maybe prompt you to go out and explore the local plant life—we gathered up a basketful of information and inspiration. Illustration by Claire Harrup.

Gather ’Round

Finding and identifying forage-worthy plants is even more fun when it’s a group effort. These local support systems provide valuable information and resources with a “the more, the merrier” approach.

Sea Salt And Lemon Ramp Butter Recipe

Spread the flavor of locally sourced and foraged food with this recipe for a savory butter with hints of the wild garlic that grows around the Midwest.

Cracking The Code

Though it was no beauty, the black walnut tree that shaded our family’s Indiana backyard still looms large over my childhood.

Championing The Ramp

A cadre of chefs and foodies with a love for foraging bring their longtime private rite of spring to a public ramp festival on the grounds of Kan-Kan Cinema and Brasserie.

Elderberry and Dark Cherry Jam Recipe

Elderberries have always been a little controversial. These tiny, dark berry clusters often found on the roadside are packed with flavor, and their flowers are delicate and earthy. Whether they ward off cold and flu may always be a heated debate. There is no argument, however, that the sweet, fruit-laden jam is the sweetest slather on your biscuit.

The Natural Connection That Arises From Foraging

More than just a way to tap a new resource, foraging is a way to build a relationship with nature.

Why You Shouldn’t Confuse Mushroom Hunting With Foraging

My late brother John would find 1,000 morel mushrooms in a season. For his sake, don’t call it foraging.

The Masterful Mycologist Of Tinker Street

Tinker Street’s resident mycologist takes us along on a mushroom hunt.

Pawpaw Patrol: Yes, We Have Indiana Bananas

These days, the potato-shaped, yellow-green treasures are practically exotic fruits.

Persimmons: The Underrated Golden Globes Foragers Treasure In Fall

Plump, pulpy, astringent yet sweet, this lesser-known fall fruit stars in puddings, cakes, and plenty of midwestern family legends.