November 2019

11/16: Ojai Herbal Symposium:
The Forest Table: A Wild Food Dining Experience with Jess Starwood

In this unique dining experience, participants will enjoy a gourmet eight course meal featuring unusual wild plants and mushrooms foraged from the local environment which will be prepared and served in a fine dining style. Between courses, herbalist, forager and chef will present the plants and mushrooms used in each dish to explain their important health benefits and how to incorporate them into meals for everyday use and special occasions. Each course will be crafted from seasonal wild foods and organic ingredients sourced from local farms. Locally brewed drinks including mead, elderberry wine and herbal beers will be served and discussed throughout the meal. The meal is plant-based and free of gluten, soy, refined sugars, egg and dairy.

This event is part of The Forest Table project where we aim to present the abundance of what our natural environment offers us through the lens of creative, educational and multi-sensorial community experiences. We know that shared memorable experiences shape and influence people’s minds and hearts. Through these unique experiences, we hope to cultivate a renewed sense of respect and responsibility for the care-taking of our land for a positive and sustainable future.

Register at the Ojai Herbal Symposium registration page. You do NOT have to be a symposium attendee to participate in this Forest Table event:

11/22-29: Foraging Baja: An 8 Day Exploration of Mexico’s Unique Edible and Medicinal Plants

Join experienced plant experts Dennis Sharmahd and Jess Starwood in the Sierra la Laguna mountain forests and canyons and the Cabo Pulmo Reef in the Baja region of Mexico for an immersive wild plant exploration. We’ll roam the arid tropical forests, to the oak pine mountains of the Southeastern region of the Baja Peninsula. These diverse ecosystems are home to many rare plants and unique cacti—as many as 88 species are only found in this protected region. Maybe we’ll even find some mushrooms. We will enjoy waterfall pools and hot springs, deserted beaches, and explore conservation projects, camp under starry skies in comfortable tents, and limited private room accommodations. Locally sourced, wild-inspired plant-based meals will be provided by forager chef Jess Starwood.

$1600 per person
November 22-29th, 2019

To register, please send Venmo payment to @jess-starwood with date of event in the notes. Need another way to register? Please contact me directly at

February 2020

2/2: Fungi of the Forest: Walk, Talk & Tasting

Join herbalist, forager and chef Jess Starwood on a walk through the winter forest in search of edible and medicinal mushrooms. We will discuss fungi identification, hunting tips and tricks, and other edible winter finds in Southern California. Afterwards, enjoy gourmet wild inspired food and drink featuring the flavors of the season.

More details and registration

2/29: Healing with Medicinal 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.

Jim Adams has a PhD in Pharmacology and studied with a Chumash Indian Healer for 14 years. In this class, he will teach medicinal plant identification and uses. You will be able to make a powerful pain liniment for your own use. You will be taught how to cure chronic pain. You will also be able to learn the uses of several other plants for other conditions. His book “Healing with medicinal plants of the west” will be available for purchase.

Jess Starwood is an herbalist, forager and plant based chef in the Los Angeles area. She has a Masters of Science degree in Herbal Medicine and training in holistic nutrition and mycology. She offers exclusive multi-course wild food dinners and teaches herbalism and wild food classes and workshops for adults and children.

February 29th, 2020
Thousand Oaks, CA (Exact address will be provided after registration)
No refunds after 7 days prior to event due to food preparations.
$100, includes lunch and beverages

Registration coming soon.

March 2020

3/7-3/8: Desert WILD: Weekend Foraging Adventure in Arizona

Explore the abundance of the Sonoran Desert in spring after the winter rains have quenched the desert’s thirst. Our journey will start with the entire foraging process, from desert to table on Saturday, then on Sunday we will dive deeply into the medicine of the desert—making our own medicines, but also exploring the spiritual side of what the desert offers. We will explore the surrounding foothills to identify the local wild edible and medicinal plants, learn sustainable and ethical harvesting practices, preparation, preservation, cooking and plating techniques. All meals included.

More details and registration here


If you are interested in a private class, workshop, interpretive plant walk or hike, wild food and drink tasting or private dinner, please contact me directly for details: