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
By Jess Starwood Stinging nettle is a common and widespread plant that grows prolifically in the springtime. It’s tiny hairs that cover its stems and leaves deliver an injection of formic acid when touched—the same chemical responsible for the pain of an ant bite. But don’t let this deter you from using this tasty and… Continue reading
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
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
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
Winter Health: Natural Support for a Healthy Immune System
It’s getting to be that time of year when its more likely to catch the common cold or the flu virus. Why is that? With the change of seasons and the quickly approaching holidays, family expectations and never ending to-do lists, we become more susceptible to illnesses as we burn the candle at both ends,… 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.