• Rise of the Pandemic Era Forager

    Rise of the Pandemic Era Forager

    (Originally published in Spring 2022 issue of Edible Ojai & Ventura County)By Jess Starwood Once an outright necessity of humankind, foraging for one’s sustenance in the wild had taken a backseat to the commercial food system, fading into obscurity and lingering only in stories of past generations—all in favor of that which is fast, aesthetic… Continue reading

  • Baja Botanical Expedition & Adventure 2021

    Baja Botanical Expedition & Adventure 2021

    Seven days in Baja California Sur exploring edible, medicinal, endemic and rare plants of the region. But not hesitating to stop for waterfalls, hot springs and natural pools. A photo review. All images subject to copyright, Jess Starwood 2021. Continue reading

  • Edges. An Alaskan Journey.

    Edges. An Alaskan Journey.

    As I start to wrap up my fifth summer of solo travels, I can’t help but look back on the journey so far. Five years ago I hopped in my Subaru and explored through all the western states, traveling alone for the first time in my life. It was eye opening and life-changing, which led… Continue reading

  • The Shaman

    The Shaman

    The shaman put the blindfold over my eyes. Lying on my back, I was instructed to let out a slow deep breath, and then another. Silence settled in, filling every pocket of space around me and I noticed the rhythm of my heartbeat. As the shaman began to shake the rattle nearly at the same… Continue reading

  • The Guardians of Mojave

    The Guardians of Mojave

    Thank you to the desert for this short story. “The Guardians” The sun lingered, still bright and glaring in the late afternoon yet dipping down past the ridge line of the western bluffs. To the east, the shadows of the cholla and dried shrubs began stretching across the rugged canyon. Dusk was still a few… Continue reading

  • Call of the Wild (Food)

    Call of the Wild (Food)

    A food journey. 2008-2020 My life, for the most part, seemed to be pretty typical and average. Degree. Job. Married. House. Fancy car. Up until one life-changing day that I held my two month old first born child, who cried nonstop in my arms for an endless twenty-four hours after an adverse reaction to a… Continue reading

  • I wrote a book.

    I wrote a book.

    I wrote a book. I accomplished my biggest life goal today. So here is my long, exhaustive story of writing a book, in case you are interested in how this journey has come to an end: From the time when I first learned to read and write, excelling in all the advanced reading and English… Continue reading

  • The Quest for Saguaro Fruit

    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

  • Foraging Baja 2019

    Foraging Baja 2019

    “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of… Continue reading

About Jess

Jess Starwood

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.