Foraging the Spring Garden
By Jess Starwood With the abundance of spring energy comes the abundance of weeds in the garden. Instead of fighting them, why not eat them? One of the mildest and easiest to identify weeds is the common garden mallow (Malva neglecta and Malva parviflora). A related species in this family of plants, Althaea officinalis, was… Continue reading
Eating Holly Leaf Cherry Kernels
In commercial agriculture, we love cherries for their sweet fruit and discard the pits. However, when it comes to wild cherries—those who naturally have less fleshy fruits and much, much larger pits, the tables have turned. Besides acorns, the kernels (the seed inside the pit) of holly leaf cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), were one of the… Continue reading
Prickly Pear Succulent Salad
…& Prickly Pear Margarita! The most commonly eaten cactus worldwide is the prickly pear (all Opuntia species are edible, though some are tastier than others). It is both a fruit and a vegetable. This cactus is widely abundant in many geographic areas, though they prefer arid regions like Southern California. This popular plant is enjoyed… Continue reading
Healing with Native Plants Workshop & Wild Food Lunch
In this full day workshop, Dr. Jim Adams will teach about native medicinal plants on a local trail in the morning, followed by a workshop in the afternoon to learn how to make medicine from these important plants. Jess Starwood will offer a gourmet tasting of local wild foods and beverages for lunch. Jim Adams… Continue reading
The Quest for Saguaro Fruit
The quest for Saguaro Fruit… is it the journey that makes it that much sweeter? Deep into the heat of the Sonoran desert, the hottest days of the year, the giant saguaro cactus offers its deeply hued fruits to the winged folk—the white-winged doves, the woodpeckers and the bats—up to sixty feet above the ground.… Continue reading
Wild Greens and Pinyon Pine Cream Sauce
I think the first “wild food” recipe that I ever made was a nettle pesto. I would speculate, though, that is probably most folks initiation into wild foods. It is abundant, found nearly everywhere, and quite simple to make without messing it up too bad. Success is fairly inevitable. Now, after many years of diving… Continue reading
Cactus & Corn Tortillas
Last weekend I hosted the incredibly knowledgeable Enrique Villasenor, local healer in training, who taught all about how to use Opuntia species of cactus (aka prickly pear) for healing a vast array of health conditions. It all goes back to “balance” he says, and this plant helps us do that. Even if we aren’t suffering… Continue reading
Wild Nettle Soup (vegan)
Welcoming springtime also means the onset of weed season. While many reach for their choice of mass plant destruction (with herbicides being of greatest concern), there are gentler and more sustainable ways to manage the green overgrowth in our yards and public spaces. Many of our wild plants that find their way into our gardens… Continue reading
I love it that people call me up and invite me to inspect their overgrown yards to search for lunch! There’s always SOMETHING edible growing… even through the crevices of the sidewalks. Here was a yard full of some of the most succulent and dense purslane and dandelion that I’ve seen in a while. In… Continue reading
Jess Starwood is an established author, chef, herbalist and educator. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine and Holistic Nutrition. In 2021, she wrote and photographed her first book, Mushroom Wanderland: A Forager’s Guide to Finding, Identifying and Using More Than 25 Wild Fungi.
She also writes regularly for Edible Ojai & Ventura County, Edible San Fernando magazines and The Mycophile—the publication of the North American Mycological Association (NAMA).
Jess founded The Wild Path School where she teaches foraging, wild foods, herbalism and nature education classes for adults and children. She is a member of the Culinary Committee for NAMA and is on the board of directors for the Arizona Mushroom Society and the newsletter editor for the Los Angeles Mycological Society. She has also worked as a wild food consultant and forager for Michelin starred chefs Niki Nakayama and Aitor Zabala. Jess has been featured in National Geographic, The Guardian, and the Orange County Register.
Classes and workshops for adults and children are held regularly in the Greater Los Angeles area and west coast. Weekend and week-long wild food adventures are also occasionally available. Be sure to check out the event calendar or join the mailing list to be notified first of openings and availability.