This afternoon, on the way home from work, I performed what has become a weekly ritual of late - picking wild plants to fill the fridge ahead of the next snow storm. Despite the tumultuous spring we've had, I was able to come home with the bounty pictured above.
The photograph shows wild onions, violets, dock leaves, nettles, cramp bark, and a pile of dandelion leaves. You'd think that given the appearance of the photo I was foraging in Eden. The truth is that I'm foraging from spots that still look like this.
I also picked food out of my garden before the storm - tarragon, more dandelion leaves, lovage, monarda, and motherwort.
Looking at my harvest, you'd imagine my garden to be quite lush, right? Here's the reality.
It just goes to show you what is possible, even in the time before the green takes hold. The wild foods I harvested today will be combined with dry beans, tortillas, pickles, preserves, and some scraps of meat and cheese. It will be more than enough food to get through this next snow storm, and the rebound time afterward.
Foraging is so much more a dance than it is a conquest. As I've become more seasoned as a forager, I've learned to waltz through the seasons, balancing a number of variables - the weather, what's growing, which foods I truly enjoy, how much I can eat, how much I can preserve, and more. In turn, I've gained an even greater appreciation for the plants, for the tenacity and spunk they show in this place that sits at a high altitude, with a short growing season, an arid climate, and weather extremes.