Interested in foraging? Maybe its your first time or maybe you'd like to improve your skills?
Here are some simple tips we've learned:
Protect Yourself! Always use some form of bug repellant, as ticks, chiggers, mosquitoes etc. thrive in the areas that are best for foraging. Personally, I choose to wear long pants most times, even in the heat of summer just to avoid excess exposure to these elements and protect myself from topical toxins like the common 'Poison Ivy' plant. Sunscreen and a rain jacket are always good to have too.
Bring a Field Guide. Most times when we forage we will find ourselves tediously working toward identifications before we can reap the benefits of harvesting. A great way to learn as you go is to bring along a field guide. When searching for a field guide, be sure to pick one that is most specific to your area and climate.
Documentation. Make sure to bring along your phone, camera, and/or a notepad to document what you encounter. Phones are a great way to simultaneously document with photos, location, and time of year for different species you encounter on your forage.
Don't forget your Knife & Bag or Basket! As foragers, we have a responsibility to respect our environment from which we are utilizing. With that said, if you are foraging plants or mushrooms, be sure to bring a knife along in order to preserve root systems and mycelial networks. Baskets are a great way to collect plants and especially fungi as they provide natural air circulation for spores to continue to be released into the forest even after harvesting.
Remember: Even if you're not prepared for a forage, be sure to enjoy your surroundings and immerse yourself in what the Japanese call a "Forest Bath."