20 May 2022

Foraging for food

Today I received an email from the Wisconsin DNR with guidelines on how to harvest food items from state property.  Guidelines will certainly vary from state to state and in different countries, but I think these are worth sharing:
Under state law, foraging at state parks, forests, natural areas, recreation and wildlife areas does not require a permit for the following:

Edible fruits such as apples, plums, pears, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, juneberries and strawberries;

Edible nuts like walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns and other similar nuts from trees and shrubs;

Wild mushrooms including morel, oyster, lobster, chanterelle, giant puffball and hen of the woods varieties;

Wild asparagus and watercress;

Garlic mustard and other invasive species listed in Ch. NR 40, Wis. Adm. Code.

Foraging is allowed only for personal consumption by the collector. Gathering seeds, leaves, stems, roots or other plant parts is not allowed — including medicinal herbs and wild leeks or ramps.

Some properties may be deemed a “non-collection site.” When in doubt, contact the property manager or call the DNR to see if a property has any restrictions.

No foraging is allowed for species listed as endangered or threatened. Specific rules apply to harvesting wild rice and ginseng, so know before you go.

Foraging for food is part art, part science, part luck, and part fun! It's another way to add to your outside springtime adventures.

9 comments:

  1. Is this in preparation for the upcoming "food insecurity'?

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    1. That's what I was thinking. My first thought was, "What warranted him getting this email?"

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  2. One rule I've stuck by WRT foraging is- Imagine you're sitting at home in your kitchen, nibbling on an apple, when some madman bursts in and knocks it out of your hand, saying "Don't eat that! It's poisonous!", then leaves. Then you pick up your apple and start eating again, thinking to yourself "He's crazy, it's just an apple." *That* is the level of confidence in food identification you need to safely forage.

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    1. I hear you. I got very sick one time. Ever since, I've simply avoided WRTs.

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  3. Why no seed gathering? Seems doubtful people could gather a high enough percentage to cause a problem. What's the difference between "nuts" "fruits" and other seeds? I mean other than direct edibility which would encourage the over gathering of "nuts' and "fruits"

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  4. Guidelines for Seed Collecting On Department of Natural Resources Land Instructions for Collectors (Wisconsin)O

    https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/EndangeredResources/SeedCollecting_Guidelines.pdf

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    1. Excellent answer to the question (and a sensible document). Thanks, Kolo, for finding this.

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  5. Heck, I R confuse. If I finish up on life support after an adverse event while WRT foraging, I hope the docs have access to my DNR.

    But I came to add an anecdote about foraging, as a total noob, for wild mushrooms in the woods of NE Poland. My minders showed the several species they were collecting and I thought "I'm a professional biologist, how hard can this be?" and I went off to find a good example of the most prized species. "Drop that immediately", they all cried, "and for good measure you'd better go down to the lake and wash your hands." Clearly I was missing some detail in identification.
    On the way home, they were remembering an elderly friend, an excellent forager of fungi, who had recently died. Apparently from a surfeit of the wrong sort of mushroom - even the most experienced could make a mistake, it seems.

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  6. A mushroom picker was walking in the woods when he met another mushroomer. They exchanged pleasantries and looked in each other's baskets. "You know," said the first one, "many of your mushrooms are poisonous." "I see that you also have picked some poisonous ones." the other replied. In truth, neither had picked any poisonous mushrooms. Each had picked only those they knew to be good ones; what each considered 'poisonous' were ones they did not know about and did not pick. (Ukrainian story, sounds better in Ukrainian).

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