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By Rady Ananda

Wild foraging for the food freedom enthusiast just got easier. Hank Shaw promotes his top picks for the best wild foods library. And this Saturday, Michael Olson’s Food Chain Radio hosts Andrew Beahrs, author of the newly released Twain’s Feast: Searching for America’s Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens.

‘Wildman’ Steve Brill, the New York City forager who was once arrested for eating a dandelion in Central Park (though the city mowed them by the hundreds of thousands), is due to release his fourth book, Foraging with Kids (next year). But check out his other titles:

* Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants
* The Wild Vegetarian Cookbook
* Shoots and Greens of Early Spring

“Every day,” he says, “I marvel at how easy it is to still find healthy, free food literally at my feet.”

Wildman has been harvesting wild foods on public tours and in school classes for almost 30 years, mostly in New York City, but throughout the Northeast, as well.

Food blogger Hank Shaw’s top three foraging books, all written by Euell Gibbons, are:

* Stalking the Wild Asparagus
* Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop
* Stalking the Healthful Herbs

Shaw admits that, “The one drawback of Gibbons’s books are the images, which are nice line drawings but are not overly helpful for the beginner.”

For great images, he recommends Nature’s Garden, by Samuel Thayer, which covers “east of the Great Plains.”

Other region-specific books that make his list:

* Edible and Useful Plants of California by Charlotte Bringle Clarke;
* Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains by H. D. Harrington;
* Gathering the Desert by Gary Paul Nabhan (California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas); and
* Wild Plants I Have Known … and Eaten by Russ Cohen (New England).

“Mushroom hunting is different from other foraging in that there is more risk at work; you need to know what the hell you are doing.” Shaw recommends the “incomparable” Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora.

History buffs will appreciate Andrew Beahrs’ Twain’s Feast just published June 24th by Penguin Press. Publishers Weekly says:

“Beahrs uses the palate of America’s great humorist and satirist to celebrate and explore native foodstuffs and even make the case for him as a passionate locavore. Though the author follows Twain’s life and literary works along loosely chronological lines, he ranges deep into a personal and journalistic agenda. The book intersperses Beahrs’s firsthand experiences, such as observing Illinois prairie chickens in mating season and attending an Arkansas raccoon supper, with Twain’s gastronomical record.

“The sheer breadth of Twain’s travels and jobs permit discussion of such 21st-century topics as the far west’s Great Basin water reclamation and cranberry bog expansion with historical developments like the invention of modern farm machinery and its impact.”

This Saturday at 9 am Pacific, you can hear a conversation with Andrew Beahrs on your radio, computer or iPOD at Food Chain Radio.

The Edible Garden Series by Rosalind Creasy also comes highly recommended as a classic in the genre.

The Edible Flower Garden
The Edible Herb Garden
Edible Landscaping

For YouTube fans, Green Deane of EatTheWeeds.com just released his 119th video – this one on the paper mulberry, which is an exotic species that has become naturalized in the States, requiring temperate climates, although it will fruit as far south as Central Florida.

Happy foraging…