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.

My foraging class with Moonwise Herbs (May 23-25) in the Kettle Moraine State Forest is now full and registration is closed. My Spring Foraging Weekend in the Blue Hills (May 8-10) is also full. There are still a few spots available in the Weeklong Introduction to Foraging Intensive Class (July 13-18). 
I will be at Rivercane Rendezvous in Georgia in 2015 (April 20-26), Tuesday evening through Thursday morning, I'll be doing a plant walk and a demonstration and discussion of making hickory milk. Join us for the fun, learn new skills, and meet a bunch of great people! www.primitiveskills.org 
I will be at the North Carolina Wild Food Weekend again, leading a plant walk and also available for general harassment throughout the event. I will even have maple syrup to sell. If you want to meet a bunch of wild food people and have fun, you need to make it to this event some time! Plus, Leda Meredith, Mike Krebill, and other great foraging teachers will be there. 
Also while in North Carolina, I'll be doing a one-day class at the Piedmont Wildlife Center in Durham on Monday, April 27. 
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