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AFAR Experience Seattle – Misadventures in Foraging

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After an exploratory morning at MOHAI and a fun stop at Love City Love, us AFAR Experiencers broke out into individual excursions for an afternoon of more intimate encounters with Seattle. There were a lot of interesting options to choose from, but my heart stopped when I saw the name Langdon Cook.

In May 2012 I came back from having the meal of a lifetime at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island, and I began following news stories on the chef, Blaine Wetzel. During that time he was nominated by Food & Wine magazine as one of the best new chefs for 2012. In the interview, he mentioned Langdon’s blog Fat of the Land and I became a faithful reader. I am currently “devouring” his second book, The Mushroom Hunters on my commute and now have a constant hankering for morels…but I digress.

Grilled Shitake mushroom

Grilled Shitake mushroom from my meal at Willows Inn

When I saw that Langdon was leading a forage in a nearby forest, I signed up toute suite! He is a foraging rock star and I wanted to meet him!

Mind you we are talking Seattle. In March.

You guessed it. Rain.

Because we had had a full morning and midday of activities I didn’t think about wearing the raincoat that hung in the closet in my hotel room. Instead, I wore my down jacket (yes, down feathers are just awesome for the rain…), my converse, and my Ona camera bag.

And of course, it was pouring down rain.

But who wouldn’t want to wander the woods with this handsome devil?


Photo credit John Valls

Langdon graciously led us through Seward Park, a park still within Seattle’s boundaries with deep forest growth. He pointed out as best as he could the varieties of edible plants, flowers, and berries available to us should we choose to return during the proper seasons. He teased us with amazing recipes for various harvests, so much so, we began to insist he invite our small group back for dinner!

We peppered him with questions as we walked the forest paths and learned about the [mostly] hidden ecosystem of mushroom pickers that support regional restaurants and farmer’s markets from Vancouver to Northern California, it is the fascinating subject of his latest book.

Soon we left the path and despite the rain coming down pretty hard, I was doing a pretty good job of not being my normal clumsy self.

Until I wasn’t.

One big step too many and my Converse lost their footing and down I went. Into a giant mud puddle. My whole right backside covered in mud.

Yep, just me.

Wasn’t hurt and what could I do? So I just went with it.

I had a great time. I learned a lot. And I got to meet a local hero, someone who I admire and who turned out to be a super nice guy.

Mud and all, it was my favorite part of my AFAR Experience Seattle trip.

How about you? Have you ever foraged? Have you ever ate a foraged meal?



J'adore - AFAR Experience Seattle Edition
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