Wild Harvest - Fresh from the Forest

Celebrating the Wild Harvest

The Grand Trio of Spring - Wild Leeks, Morel Mushrooms and Fiddlehead Ferns

 

Wild Things… they make our hearts sing!

Thanks for visiting Wild Harvest.com. Our goal is to bring you the latest information on wild-harvested foods, both from around the corner – and around the world.

Happy hunting & full baskets to all!

 

Wild Harvest supports the responsible & sustainable harvest of all wild foods.  Do your part to preserve our wild heritage for future generations!

Ramp/Wild Leek Season is in Full Swing!

Spring Ramps

Spring Ramps

After some early spring warm temps, our hopes were high for an early start to ramp season in the southeast.  Well, leave it to Mother Nature to fool US again.  The warm spell was followed by several weeks of chillier than normal weather, which delayed the start of the harvest, but fortunately, all good things come to those who wait – and that includes ramps.  Now, as we near the end of April, ramp season is well underway and has moved north into Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere.

Here’s something important to remember: whether you harvest ramps yourself or purchase them from foragers or produce companies, make sure that they are harvested responsibly. Don’t buy from unscrupulous ramp harvesters who over-pick ramp patches, damaging pristine and productive wild habitats that may take many years to recover.  If you harvest your own ramps, don’t pick more than 10% to 20% of a thriving patch, leaving plenty behind to reproduce, guaranteeing sustainable harvests for generations to come.

Happy picking and full baskets to all!

2017 Spring Ramp Harvest Begins Soon!

Early Ramps

Early ramps – tender & tiny, but potent

The West Coast has had an unusually wet winter, which has kick-started the season with an early harvest of orchard morels and other spring delicacies.

But the big news of the moment are RAMPS! The first, tiny “early” ramps of the year are expected to start rolling into the Earthy Delights warehouse within the next few weeks and ramp lovers across the country will once again be able to indulge in their passion for the pungent “King of Stink,” as ramps are affectionately known by many.

These early or “baby” ramps are a little different from the ramps that appear later in the season. Their tender, delicate leaves are still mostly furled and the bulbs are slender, almost like a small scallion. But as small as they are, their flavor is BIG! Many ramp aficionados swear that the early ramps are the most potent, the strongest, hottest and the best of the season.

True or not? You decide. It’s only during this very brief season – as short as two or three weeks of the year – that we can indulge ourselves in the rustic delicacy that has been called “the Tennessee truffle.”

One more thing: One of the hot topics associated with the harvest of ramps (or wild leeks, as they’re known in their northern range) is over-harvesting.  Rest assured, Earthy Delights supports and promotes the responsible harvest of ramps and other wild foods.  Our foragers are required to adhere to our strict guidelines for the sustainable and responsible harvesting of ALL wild foods.  With care, our wild food heritage will be protected for generations to come.

 

Matsutake Mushrooms

Matsutake in shell bowl

          Fresh Matsutake Mushrooms

The famous Matsutake (literally, “pine mushroom”), revered throughout Asia, and most especially in Japan, grows abundantly in many far-flung corners of world, including much of North America.

Matsutake mushroom possess a particular flavor and aroma that is both subtle and unmistakable at the same time. Like other mushrooms, their flavor is evocative of the soil and climate in which they grow. The best matsutake preparations enhance, rather than overpower, their delicate notes of pine, sandy earth, cinnamon and saffron.

Though many matsutake recipes have a distinctively Asian touch, the incredible flavors of this pungent wild mushrooms are equally suited to decidedly Western preparations. Their magnificently spicy aroma enhances wild mushroom dishes and makes a great stuffed mushroom. Matsutake are also wonderful when done tempura-style, roasted, in braised dishes and served alongside shellfish, chicken and meats.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live in a region where fresh matsutake mushrooms can be foraged, you can purchase them in season from Earthy Delights.

Beautiful, Golden Chanterelles!

Fresh Michigan Chanterelle Mushrooms

Fresh Chanterelle Mushrooms

In the Midwest, morels tend to dominate the thoughts of fungi-philes throughout the spring, and for many, mushroom picking begins and ends there.  But if you love mushrooms, and you’re not seeking out chanterelles, you’re missing out on a real treat.  Chanterelles have a flavor and aroma that is absolutely unique.  Their haunting flavor is often said to be spicy, floral and apricot-like, but words cannot adequately describe this marvelous mushroom and it must be eaten to be fully appreciated.  Chanterelles have a particularly pleasant texture too;  firm, with a little bit of “al dente” firmness, even after cooking.  Chanterelles have the added benefit of storing very well in the refrigerator and can last a week or two when carefully kept in a container that allows them to breathe, like a plain brown paper bag.

If Chanterelles have a single flaw, it’s that they don’t dry especially well -or rather, they do dry well, but don’t reconstitute as nicely as other mushrooms.   Dried chanterelles, sadly, can be rather tough, even after long soaking and cooking.  There is a method to using dried chanterelles that works quite well, however.  When dried chanterelles are pulverized in a spice grinder, food processor or blender, the resulting powder and larger granules can be used in pasta, soups and sauces – even as a dusting for pan-frying trout or other fish.  (Just check out this fantastic recipe for Pan-fried Rainbow Trout with Chanterelle Mushrooms.)

“Give Me Some!”

Enjoy this fun song, shared by our friends, The Loose Change Band, which celebrates the “King of Stink,” allium tricoccum, AKA the wild ramp (or the wild leek, as it’s known in the northern range).  Any forager who loves ramps knows that nothing beats their heady aroma and sharp, garlicky bite.

Best of all, the season is STILL on. Get ’em while you can!

 

“May is Morel Month in Michigan”

Michigan Morel Mushrooms

Michigan Morels (Boyne City Chamber of Commerce)

“May is Morel Month in Michigan”

As kids growing up in Michigan, we learned this little saying in honor of the Midwest’s most popular fungus, the morel mushroom.  It’s true that in most years, morel mushrooms make their most reliable appearance around the first week or two of May, although in exceptional years, they may start up even earlier.

According to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan is having an “epic” morel mushroom harvest this year, due in part to the wet weather the state has had this spring.  The season never lasts long however, and is likely to end by around June 1 (or earlier), depending on the weather over the next week or two.  According to five-time national morel-hunting champion Anthony Williams of Boyne City, Michigan, the start of the season began late this spring and may likely end earlier than usual because of expected over 70-degree temperatures just around the corner.

If you can’t get out into the woods before the end of May, or you don’t live in the Midwestern morel mushroom producing heartland, don’t despair.  You can still enjoy this rare taste of spring by buying fresh morels online from our sponsor, Earthy Delights.  To place an order, just visit http://earthy.com or call (855) 328-8732, Monday – Friday, between 9 AM and 5 PM Eastern time.

Bon appetit!