Forager’s Report – 4.2.16
- Devil’s club buds (Echinopanax horridum) – barely started
- Fiddleheads (Matteuccia struthiopteris) – just starting
- Nettles (Urtica sp.) – just starting
- Twisted stalk (Stretopus amplexifolius)
As predicted, spring has sprung early! I went out two days ago to attempt to shoot my first Hooter (also known as the Sooty Grouse – Dendragapus fuliginosus) and while we struck out, that walk in the woods made one thing very clear, the foraging season has definitely started. If you focus on lower elevation sunny spots, you’ll start to see all of the lovely early spring treats. But with this very warm spring, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the forests bud up the mountainside faster than usual.
Devils Club is still a little early, but if you can find some sunny patches close to sea level, you’ll see buds about the size shown in the photo above. Small, but definitely pick-able. Devil’s club is possibly my favorite foraged item. Just the thought of Devil’s Club Pesto makes my mouth water. I’m hoping to do some further experimenting with this unique green this year. Please let me know what you’re methods for using Devil’s Club are!
Fiddleheads are peeking out everywhere and this is the time to get them, when they’re young and tender. Again, you’re only going to see them down at lower elevations right now, but they’re definitely out. I’m not planning on picking fiddleheads this year, mostly because I find them to be an exercise in frustration, but they sure are both tasty and pretty.
Nettles have started and it looks like we’ll have them for many weeks to come. Nettles are one of the more widely used foraged goods we have here in Southeast Alaska and maybe for that reason I haven’t spent much time experimenting with them. Even so, looking forward to some nettles chips in my future!
Twisted Stalk is also just starting. Twisted stalk seems to love the same areas that you’ll find devil’s club, so I typically pick them in tandem. A simple, bright, crisp green with hints of cucumber, I enjoy mixing twisted stalk into my salad greens or tossing into a light brothy soup.
Seaweed – from what I’m hearing, this is a great time to pick seaweed. But this is an area of foraging that I’m just now dipping my toes into. Look out for updates in the coming weeks and please let me know if you have any seaweed advice.
1. I’m SUPER excited that Sydney Akagi and Kayla Roys met their Kickstarter goal for their film Reel Happiness – a film they’re putting together about female anglers in Southeast Alaska. I can not wait to see more footage from these two. Sydney is a photographer who I met when she took a series of amazing black and white portraits for the Juneau Rollergirls (did I mention I play roller derby?) and Kayla is the dynamo behind Alaska Fly Fishing Goods’ indispensable fishing reports for Juneau and is also actively driving a push towards bringing more women into fly-fishing.
2. I got to take my brand-spanking-new-christmas-birthday present out for a walk in the woods, and boy-o-boy am I a fan. Thanks Mom & Dad! Check out this awesome hunting pack action: