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Springtime Wild Edibles in the Southern Berkshires
March 15, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pmFree
The southern Berkshires are home to over 100 species of edible wild plants. Many of these species are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. These include native species like Fiddleheads and Wild Leeks; non-native weeds like Burdock and Chicory; and exotic invasive species like Dame’s Rocket and Japanese Knotweed.
For our last winter Zoom lecture of the 2023 season, join Russ Cohen, wild edibles enthusiast and author of the book Wild Plants I Have Known…and Eaten for an hour+ slide show covering at least two dozen wild edibles available in the springtime. These include plant species everyone knows well, like Daisies and Dandelions, to species they may never have even heard of, like Calamus and Carrion Flower. While the main season for mushrooming in the Berkshires doesn’t begin until the summer, Russ’s talk will also cover a few edible mushroom species available in the springtime. Keys to the identification of reach species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally-responsible foraging.
Until his retirement in June of 2015, Russ Cohen’s “day job” was serving as the Rivers Advocate for the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Ecological Restoration, where one of his areas of expertise was in riparian vegetation. Russ’ job brought him out to the Berkshires on a regular basis, as he covered the Hoosic and Housatonic Rivers and watersheds as part of his job responsibilities. Now Russ has more time to pursue his passionate avocation, which is connecting to nature via his taste buds, and assisting others in doing the same. In addition to leading over three dozen foraging walks and talks each year at a wide variety of venues throughout the Northeast, Russ has now taken on a role of Johnny Appleseed for edible native species. He has set up a small nursery (in Weston, MA) where he grows/keeps plants that he propagates from seed (some of which he collected himself). He is then partnering with land trusts, cities and towns, schools and colleges, state and federal agencies, tribal groups, organic farms and others to plant plants from his nursery in appropriate places on their properties.
This talk will be held via Zoom and pre-registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent to all attendees 1-2 days in advance.
Russ will follow up this talk with a guided foraging walk later in the spring. More information about that will go up on the Museum website in late February.