Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill has a series of amazing events year-round. From yoga to live music, bee keeping class to home brewing. Rob and I were lucky enough to take their Foraging 101 class, and we had a blast. I was drawn to the class by my love for hiking and my ignorance of all things plants. When I hike, I find myself wondering about each plant I pass and wishing I could identify them all. I also have a unsubstantiated fear of getting lost in the wild, and thought it would be a good idea to identify wild edibles to help me survive.
We left home and drove the hour from Lexington to Shaker Village. We arrived at the class to find people from all over Kentucky ready to forage! The class started with an intro to wild mushrooms. Then, we jumped right into tasting foods foraged from the grounds of Shaker Village. Our instructor, Merin, cooked chopped salad, stir fried greens, pine needle tea, and garlic mustard pesto. My favorite was the pine needle tea and the garlic mustard pesto. We learned that garlic mustard, Alliaria petiolata, is an invasive species and that we would be doing the state a favor by picking it for our dinner. You can find the recipe for garlic mustard pesto at the bottom of this post, courtesy of Merin at Shaker Village!
After a lunch break, we were able to go on a hike and forage in the varied landscapes afforded on the Shaker Village wildlife refuge. We avoid foraging near a road, highly populated area, or under power lines (they spray under power lines). We identified what to eat, and what to avoid (like Socrates's favorite, poison hemlock). In addition to garlic mustard, we identified clovers, wild onion, ferns, miami mist, dandelion, chickweed, violets, mallow, and many others. Overall, I was extremely happy with the class. Even more so after my most recent local hike - I recognized many of the plants along the way, enriching the experience even more!
Garlic Mustard Pesto Recipe:
- Garlic Mustard Leaves
- Parmesan Cheese (grated)
- Olive Oil
Instructions: Rinse all plants, pat dry with cloth. Remove leaves from stems. Finely chop garlic mustard leaves and add to bowl. Add olive oil and parmesan cheese until desired mixture is reached. Add salt and lemon to taste if desired. Place on bread and enjoy!
If you are interested in learning more about foraging here are a few resources recommended by our instructor:
- Mushrooms of West Virginia and The Central Appalachians (Book)
- Audubon Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America (Book)
- Peterson’s Guide to Wild Plants
- Peterson’s Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs
Upcoming Workshops at Shaker Village:
Intro to Beekeeping: http://shakervillageky.org/event/introduction-to-beekeeping-2/
Herbs for Home & Health: http://shakervillageky.org/event/herbal-health-2/
Beeswax Soap & Candle Making: http://shakervillageky.org/event/beeswax-candle-and-soap-making/