Welcome to Forager's Harvest

Connecting People and Nature Through
the Ancient Craft of Foraging 

Harvesting wild food is the oldest and most basic subsistence activity of humankind, but today we live in a world where these skills are almost lost. Foraging is the missing link in modern civilized cultures--it is this direct physical connection, in the form of sustenance, that brings us to our deepest appreciation and understanding of the natural world.

This is the home site for Sam Thayer, renowned author and forager and internationally recognized authority on edible wild plants. It is also the site for Forager's Harvest Press, publisher of Sam's award-winning wild food books.  Our mission is to promote responsible foraging, appreciation and conservation of Nature, and sustainable food production systems. If you care about these things, please explore this site's content and links.

The next event I will be teaching at is the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Prairie du Chien, WI September 11-13th.  I highly recommend this event to anyone interested in foraging.  It's a very fun and educational event.  The keynote speaker will be as good as it gets: John Kallas. In addition, we'll have some of the best locally and nationally recognized teachers on edible wild plants: Leda Meredith, Ellen Zachos, Linda Conroy, Mike Krebill, and some great people you may not have heard of.  Go to:  www.wildharvestfestival.org for more information.
Also, I will be the keynote speaker at this year's Nature Wonder Weekend in West Virginia September 18-20th.  This is the longest running wild food event in the U.S. and I'm honored to be this year's guest speaker.  Go to:  http://www.wvdnr.gov/2015news/15news129.shtm for registration and other information.
I'm bringing maple syrup to sell at prices cheaper than you'll ever find in the grocery store, so drop by if you want to get some!

The Sugar Woods

The sugar shack in action toward the end of syrup season

There is incredible excitement in the anticipation of quiet things; a baby growing deep in mama’s belly. It is the secret of ice fishing: Invisible things are like magic. To most people the hard, still, silent winter trunks of hardwoods are dull blocks of frozen wood. To me they are pregnant, powerful.

When I get out of the truck after pondering those trunks for miles, I smell something startling but familiar: dirt. I can’t recall the last time I smelled dirt, but I know it was months ago. But today, the sun is beating down on the deep, sunken, compacted snow, in the first real battle that it will win this year, exposing and melting a little bit of the soil along the driveway to my shack.

I don’t lament the going of winter, nor do I pine for the coming of summer; I take them just as nightfall and daybreak. But I do have a complicated relationship with these early inklings of spring that punctuate late winter. I watch the weather and contemplate the calendar like a factory worker on lunch break stares begrudgingly at the clock signaling the minutes of repose he has left. Not that I mind the melting snow, the muddy trails, the shushing wings and night-time honks of gliding geese, or the startle of woodcocks who find the rare pockets of early brown on south slopes. Indeed, I long for these things through the tantalizing sunny but frigid days of March. But I also know that with them will come a day when all hell breaks loose, and I’ll be wrestled in an instant out of the winter lethargy that has spent four months creeping into my bones. It is the nervousness of a wedding: I want this, I yearn for this, I’m ready for this. Damn right I better be.

Recent Articles

Once Upon a Little Prairie

/ January 23, 2012

Stitchwort in the Backyard

/ August 18, 2011

Autumnberry, Autumn-olive

/ March 24, 2010

Black Nightshade

/ March 24, 2010

Into the Wild and other Poisonous Plant Fables

/ March 24, 2010

Fern Fiddleheads: The Succulent Stalks of Spring

/ March 16, 2010

Basswood: The Ultimate Wild Salad Plant

/ March 16, 2010

Making Your Own Apple Pectin

/ March 16, 2010

Milkweed: A Truly Remarkable Wild Vegetable

/ March 16, 2010