With coconut yogurt, western redbud and manzanita flowers
After harvesting the various desert fruits and seeds throughout the year, it has become time to clear out the pantry in preparation for the next season of harvest. The base of this granola is made with raw sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats which are light and airy but give a satisfying crunch. These were a key gluten free staple back in my raw vegan days and still keep their place on the shelf.
Desert Fruits: Featured here are the iconic prickly pear and saguaro cactus fruits (dehydrated and ground pulp), wolfberries, and elderberries. Other berries such as hack berry would also be a great addition, but last year I ate them all fresh and didn’t save any. Saguaro had an excellent year so I have tons of dried fruit and the seeds are abundant, so I used quite a bit here.
Desert Seeds: From barrel cactus seeds to saguaro seeds and of course one of my favorites, ironwood beans, all ended up in this granola. The ironwood beans have better flavor when toasted, so I roasted them briefly in an iron skillet… ironic, for ironwood, right? Plus, a little bit of mesquite bean flour for that nutty sweetness.
Making granola is usually very intuitive for me so it all depends on what you have on hand and ingredients can be substituted easily. Don’t have wolfberries? Easy, they are a close relative to the commercially available goji berries. Used all your elderberries for syrup over the winter? No worries, dried blueberries can be a stand-in. The seeds can also be swapped for any of your typically available or locally foraged seeds if you enjoy their flavor. Here’s my generic recipe to get you started:
Ingredients 3 parts buckwheat groats 1/2 part elderberries 1/2 part wolfberries 1/4 part barrel cactus seeds 1/4 part saguaro seeds & fruit powder 1/4 part ironwood beans, toasted 1/8 part mesquite powder 1/8 part prickly pear powder 1/8 part agave or maple syrup Sea salt to taste
Sprout the buckwheat groats by soaking in three times the amount of filtered or spring water to cover. Allow to absorb the water, adding more if necessary to keep covered. Soak for 4-6 hours. Rinse very thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread onto dehydrator sheets and dehydrate just until dry. An oven on its lowest setting also works well.
Enjoy on top of yogurt, ice cream, acai, and more!
Join foragers Julie Beeler, Lorelle Sherman and Jess Starwood for an unforgettable weekend in the woods where you will learn plant and mushroom identification, fabric dyeing with foraged plants, and a locally sourced six-course gourmet wild food dinner in celebration of the Summer Solstice. Located in Trout Lake, Washington at the base of Mt. Adams, the area is rich with edible and medicinal plants and fungi that will be collected and used throughout the weekend.
This workshop will take place on occupied territory of Yakama people. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Peacekeepers Society, a nonprofit founded in the mobilization of Yakama Nation ‘tribal trainers and wisdom keepers’ to promote positive social change for Native youth and adults.
Plant Identification and Foraging with Lorelle Sherman
The Pacific Northwest gifts us a bounty of wild foods in the spring and summer months, from roots to shoots, berries, greens, and possibly even mushrooms! We will get intimate with the local landscape by learning to identify, utilize, and sustainably harvest local and seasonal wild ingredients.
Through hands-on experience in the field, you will learn how to identify common native and invasive wild foods that you can confidently harvest on your next outdoor adventure. We will work through basic plant identification, ethical foraging practices, and easy and delicious ways to prepare and preserve your newfound wild ingredients. Group taste-testing and wild tea drinking will bring these local flavors to life. Come prepared for an easy hike and bring cloth, mesh, or paper bags to bring any foraged treats home with you for further flavor exploration.
Six-Course Wild Food Dinner with Jess Starwood
Forager, herbalist and wild food chef Jess Starwood will be serving a hand-crafted gourmet six-course dinner and drinks on Sunday night, celebrating the culmination of the event and the Summer Solstice. We will be enjoying an intimate experience with the local environment through new tastes, textures and wild flavors.
As you dine among the trees, each course tells a story about the land around you and the current season. Little to no processing of foods preserve their natural flavors and allow their unique subtleties shine through. This elegantly presented meal is crafted from locally sourced wild and organically farmed ingredients, completely plant-based and gluten-free.
Wild Plant Dye Workshop with Julie Beeler
Discover the alchemy of natural dyes and explore the bounty of botanical palettes. The serendipity of painting with plants combined with the ancient traditions of natural dyes yields unique and colorful results.
Working with plants that you forage in the wild along with Bloom & Dye’s locally grown flowers, you will gain knowledge and insight all while experimenting with the art of natural color.
We will be exploring a variety of ways to work with natural dyes; creating botanical bundles and prints, and making dye baths to create rich color palettes. Everyone will try their hand at different Japanese shibori traditions. Each participant will receive a variety of different natural fabrics to test and dye along with a linen foraging satchel to experiment with different colors, palettes and patterns. The custom instructional craftbook will allow everyone to continue their exploration at home.
About Your Instructors:
Julie Beeler, artist, designer and educator, grew up with a deep love and curiosity for the natural world. Educating others on how plants, fungi and their colors reflect the beauty of nature is something she is moved to share as a way to inspire care, stewardship and impact. Her work is bound up in the landscape; every thread is infused with botanical energy, as she gently simmers Mother Nature to unlock her colors. Drawing on cultural traditions and ancient natural dye histories each textile object is a record of a place and time, reflecting our relationship to the natural world. She has been recognized with numerous awards throughout her career as a designer of interpretive, editorial, and educational content, that supported cultural vitality with a commitment to preservation and conservation. Instagram @bloomanddye and bloomanddye.com
Jess Starwood, herbalist, forager and chef, creates an innovative yet traditional approach to herbal medicine, wild foods and connecting the community with our local natural environment. She was recognized as one of the most creative chefs in Ventura County by Edible Ojai & Ventura County magazine in December 2019 and has worked with Michelin-starred chefs in Los Angeles, CA to bring nutritious, wild foods to the table. Not only sharing a love for unique and unusual foods, Jess strives to help students cultivate an intimate, sustainable and connected relationship with the land. Instagram @jess.starwood and jstarwood.com
Lorelle Sherman Lorelle is a forest ecologist, naturalist, and wild foods forager who weaves conservation and ecology into her teaching. She has been foraging and teaching for over ten years in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. Lorelle has a BS in Wildlife Biology and a MS in Forest Ecology. Since arriving in Oregon in 2015, she has worked with government agencies, private timber, and non-profit groups to develop and implement wildlife habitat and vegetation studies from the Oregon Coast to the western Cascades. Throughout her career, she has prioritized environmental education and science communication as a way to help others build meaningful connections with the natural world. Instagram @lorellemorel and lorellemorel.com.
SATURDAY 10am Welcome & Introductions 11am-4pm Foraging with Lorelle Sherman 6-8pm 6 course Wild Food Dinner with Jess Starwood
SUNDAY 10am-3pm Dye Workshop with Julie Beeler
Lodging is not included in this event. Some great local options:
If you are sick or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone who is sick/experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, in the 14 days prior to the workshop, please do not attend. Send us an email and we will work out a solution.
We will be following Washington State COVID-19 protocols, guidelines and recommendations at the time of the workshop.
You will need to bring and wear your own mask or face covering.
Please maintain 6ft of physical distance from any other workshop participant who is not in your immediate household at all times.
Dinner will be served out doors with no more than 6 people per table from two households.
The workshop is limited to 12 participants + 3 instructors and will primarily take place outdoors with the exception of some botanical dyeing taking place in our indoor 1,300 sq. ft. studio space.
We will provide all individual tools and set up in personal stations to avoid unnecessary sharing of items.
The studio space will be sanitized both days and will have plenty of soap and hand sanitizer on hand. We will provide disposable gloves for those who wish to use them.
GATHER: Food • Medicine • Dye June 19-20, 2021 Limited to 12 participants. $400/person + $25 materials fee if registered before May 19, 2021 $450/person + $25 materials fee if registered after May 19, 2021
We are currently SOLD OUT
To be added to the wait list, please submit the form below:
Refund Policy No refunds after 7 days prior to the event.
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 routine vaccine. Reality hit like a brick wall in those turbulent, panic-ridden hours. I was inextricably linked to this human in a way that I never had been connected to another. Sure, a marriage vow was one thing, but this. This was a connection, a love so much deeper, dare I say karmic. Her life, her very existence depended completely on me. Who was I to take on such a responsibility? I barely knew how to take care of myself. During my pregnancy my diet was the worst in my life, I had gained over 75 pounds, and was on the verge of becoming diabetic. In those dark, endless hours of comforting her alone that fateful day, and feeling the most helpless I ever had in my life, I ruminated on the meaning of my life and questioning my early motherhood at 25.
One month prior, my newborn also suffered from severe eczema that riddled her skin with angry and irritated boils. She was not a happy baby. I knew something was not right, even though the doctor passed it off as normal and from my nascent research I suspected it was due to a dairy allergy. But she wasn’t drinking cows milk at one month old. It was me and my addiction to cheese and ice cream. Her incessant crying made it quite clear to me then the relationship of what we put in our bodies—be it foods, medicines or other non-natural chemicals—has a drastic effect on us. Not only that, I needed to be strong and healthy to raise her in the best way that I could. But, it was only the very first step on a long and winding journey ahead.
I suffered immediately from an abrupt and serious descent into post-partum depression those first few months, several times seriously plotting to run away with my daughter and to never be seen again—or worse. My husband at the time insisted that I somehow “fix myself” and nudged me in the direction of pharmaceuticals. Without knowing any better or having any support in alternatives, I was promptly prescribed high doses of drugs that numbed every last bit of feeling and emotion out of my existence. As a naturally highly sensitive and emotional person that needs to sense the world through deeper meaning, creativity and feeling, I was nothing but an empty and robotic shell. The days went on and on—I mechanically moved though the actions of what I thought I was supposed to do, never again crying, but also never smiling or laughing. Days, months, years went trodding by, every day just like the last. I lost any passion or interest I had for life—the only things that vaguely interested me was food and my nascent garden.
After the success of relieving my daughter’s severe eczema by removing all dairy from my diet, I switched to a completely plant-based diet and bought my very first cookbook. I explored every recipe in that book and to this day it remains one of the most stained and tattered tomes from those relentless early explorations in the kitchen. Each meal was an adventure to look forward to, an empty creative canvas. And, I was getting healthier and what seemed like endless, uncontainable energy. By removing dairy, my chronic pain and environmental allergies nearly completely disappeared. I had spent most of my childhood and young adult years embarrassingly suffering from chronic sinusitis, likely contributing to my introversion and shyness. Had I only known.
While nearly all of my ailments disappeared with this initial change of diet, it didn’t quell the depression. I was terrified to go off the drugs without knowing what the other side would be like. Yet, there was this pressing, relentless voice in the back of my mind pleading with me to realize I was finally strong enough to release them.
I continued to study food and nutrition, burrowing deeper into the rabbit hole of how the foods we eat interact with our body, mind and even our spirit. I leaned into raw food diets and everything they promised: weight loss, increased vitality, improved mental clarity, and boundless energy. Carefully tracking everything I ate, it came nearly to an obsession. I began to make everything our family ate from scratch—breads, crackers, chips, sauces, granola, condiments, desserts—and every meal was carefully crafted and thought out with organic ingredients from the farmer’s market or the garden. Often times I made several different meals, from something only moderately healthy my then-husband would tolerate, something simple for the kids, and then I would thoroughly enjoy my latest culinary experiment. Exploring food was the only thing that kept me going in a loveless marriage and the lonely, exhausting, and monotonous days of toddlerhood. Every waking day felt excruciatingly the same as the last, for years on end. The only memories I have of those years are in memorized recipes and hard-earned meals.
At long last, I came to a point where I felt that I could finally free myself from anti-depressants in 2012. I felt that no matter what life brought to me, I could nourish myself and those I loved through food. Despite recommendations, I abruptly quit taking the medication and as my body detoxed the pharmaceutical, I began to see the color, hope and passion not only to return to life again, but in a new way that I had never dreamed of.
As I examined intimately each bite I took throughout the day, I began to look at foods and ingredients in a new way and how they made me feel. I wanted to know more. Where did they come from? How were they grown or processed? How many hands have they touched? What resources went into its production and its transportation? What air did it breathe when it was growing? Most of us have no idea how our processed foods are stripped of nutrients and real flavor, then artificially manipulated to seduce our taste buds and neural pathways into an endless cycle of cravings and addictions. For what? More, and more fake food until we no longer remember what real was or even that a carrot grows in dirt. I wanted to know what real tomatoes tasted like, what an in-season heirloom watermelon smelled like when it burst open from its unbridled ripeness. So I grew them. Whatever seeds I could manage to get my hands on, I planted in my front yard. One year, I had 75 individual plants of 20 organic heirloom tomato varieties were growing in my garden. With a great array of other heirloom vegetables and unusual herbs, I transformed our insipid suburban lawn into a food forest.
I was after real foods and real flavor.
Through my questing and research for real food, I experienced first hand the results of our entangled connection to the foods that we eat. With a newfound drive for a better way of living, I kept digging deeper. This unprocessed organic whole food diet was great and all that, but that voice started whispering to me again. These foods are good for me, but are they good for the planet? Where are they coming from and what are our options? I turned to my garden. And I turned to higher education, pursuing a master’s degree in holistic nutrition and finished with a degree in herbal medicine where I focused on the nutritional and medicinal aspects of herbs and, specifically, mushrooms. I still couldn’t quite find the answers I was looking for.
At the beginning of my schooling, which was enormously difficult with two children under the age of 6 and the dismantling of a nine year marriage, I encountered a single plant that changed my perspective one more time—Stinging nettle, Urtica dioica. It seemed foreign, strange and incredibly uninviting—something I could not connect with in any of my memories of being in nature which was rooted in the Arizona desert and forests. I learned all about this plant’s nutrition and medicinal benefits and was astounded that a single plant could be capable of so much. It was more than something to eat or make into a tea. I began my search for this plant as I learned that it was found only “in the wild.” It did not need to be coddled by a farmer, fed artificial nutrients and watered regularly. It was self-sufficient. It didn’t rely on any humans that thought they knew better. It was real. This one plant sparked a whole new raging wildfire of passion for real food.
This concept of “wild food” had not been completely unfamiliar to me, as in childhood I had devoured the book My Side of the Mountain multiple times and had longed to run away to live in a tree and eat right off the land as Sam Gribley did—to make acorn pancakes and dandelion salads. Well, let’s be honest, it was mostly about the pet falcon. I’m still waiting on that one. But alas, I grew up in the Sonoran desert at the time and making a home in a saguaro and lack of water did not seem as enchanting. I digress.
On my quest, I escaped to my local trails during the day, dragging along my two restless children, touching most any green leafy plant, looking for stinging nettle’s identifying characteristic and lasting sting. (Admittedly not the best way to go about it, regarding the dense populations of poison oak in our area) The day I found it, a most memorable moment, was incredibly empowering. I could find and identify a single nutritious and medicinal food in the wild on my own. I’ve since seen a similar wave of excitement wash over folks who learn about and identify wild foods for the first time—or is it more a remembering? There’s something innate and primal about our connection to these same plants that have fed us for millennia and it is only recently that we have forgotten that connection through our domestication and disconnection of our food.
Since then, my journey spiraled rapidly into an adventure of all that wild food has to offer. From new and unique flavors of native and non-native plants, hunting for wild mushrooms across the United States and exploring exotic fruits in Mexico, deeply studying herbal medicine and nutrition with many different and inspiring teachers, investigating new culinary possibilities, connecting with some of the world’s greatest chefs, and not to mention how the simple act of collecting acorns on my daily walk becomes an integral part of the forager’s life.
I found a little bit of myself in the foods that I collected and tasted. Wild food escapes our attempt at their domestication. It doesn’t need us, nor follows any of our rules or bow to our attempts to contain it. We, however, need wild foods. We need them and their land to thrive. We need them to remind us of our own not so distant wildness. And that this wildness is too quickly slipping away. I’m not suggesting we all become foragers, but somehow cultivate a renewed connection to this invisible land that is so quickly poisoned and polluted, plowed over and pushed aside by shopping centers and sprawling suburban neighborhoods. It is not another hip product to be bought and sold. And that is why it escapes the capitalistic nature of our contemporary mindset. If we try to put a price tag on wild food, we cannot afford it. We have to change our thinking about food. It is the rudimentary foundation of life itself. No matter who we are or where we came from, it is our history. And our future. It is real food.
One of my most favorite soups but with chicken mushrooms in place of real chicken.
1 Tbsp. coconut oil 1/2 onion sliced 2 garlic cloves chopped a few Thai chiles, halved 3 quarter-inch slices slices galangal root, or ginger 1 lemongrass stalk pounded with the side of a knife and cut into 2-inch long pieces 2 teaspoons red Thai curry paste 4 cups vegetable broth* 4 cups canned coconut milk 10 oz. chicken of the woods mushrooms (or substitute commercial Maitake mushrooms) 1-2 Tbsp. coconut sugar 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 2-3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice 2-3 green onions sliced thin fresh cilantro chopped, for garnish
Note: Make your own wild mushroom broth by simmering turkey tail mushrooms (or any other edible wild mushrooms) for an immune system boost, or store bought mushroom broths are available.
Wash mushrooms gently and slice into bite sized pieces. Steam pieces for 40 minutes and set aside.
In a medium pot, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chili, galangal, lemongrass, and red curry paste and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until onions are softened.
Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain out all aromatics and return broth to the pot.
Add in coconut milk and mushrooms. Simmer gently to allow mushrooms to absorb the flavors, about 10 min, then add soy sauce, coconut sugar, and lime juice, plus more of each to taste.
Cook 2 more minutes, then ladle into serving bowls and top with sliced green onions and fresh cilantro.
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 deeper and deeper into the complexities of flavors in wild plants and mushrooms, I try not to roll my eyes as my social media feeds are flooded with pesto recipes. However, nettle remains one of my favorite greens to use in the kitchen and not to mention medicinal herb.
I won’t go on about its incredible attributes—those can be easily found elsewhere and probably somewhere on an old recipe here for soup. So let’s get on with something slightly different you can do with it (or any other wild or cultivated greens you have on hand).
The first time I created this, I used a wild spinach (also called New Zealand spinach) that grows near coastal regions here in California. I created this sauce to pair with some chia/acorn pasta ravioli with morels for a wild food dinner. I heard from few folks that they were literally licking the plate so as not to miss a single taste of that vibrant green flavor.
Of course, the flavor will have a different profile depending on what greens you use, but this is just a starting point. To be honest, I’m horrible at writing down recipes, much less following them. If I feel inspired, or think of some crazy idea, I’ll find a recipe that sounds similar and then I start substituting and switching things up, tasting along the way. I really have to get better at notes for my book.
Recipe: Wild Greens and Pinyon Pine Cream Sauce
1 lb wild greens, nettle or wild spinach recommended 1/2 c pinyon pine nuts, shelled (or sub commercial pine nuts) 1 yellow onion, diced 1 shallot, diced 2-4 cloves of garlic, diced 1/4-1/2 c mushroom broth (or other broth), plus more to thin 2 tbsp avocado oil Juice of 1/2 lemon Salt to taste
Blanch your greens: Put a pot of water on to boil while you wash and de-stem your greens. Set aside a large bowl of ice water. If you’re working with nettle, you can use gloves at this point. (As soon as they are cooked, their stinging hairs are no longer active.) Submerge the greens in the boiling water for 1 minute, until they turn bright green. Remove quickly and place in the ice bath to cool.
Heat the avocado oil in a cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and shallot and saute until just translucent, about 3-5 min. Add the diced garlic and saute for about 1-2 min more, do not allow the garlic to burn. No one likes burnt garlic.
Strain the water from the greens and place them in between a few paper towels and press, removing as much water as possible.
Combine the greens, pine nuts, onions, shallot and garlic into a high speed blender with the broth and lemon juice and blend, adding more broth (or water from cooking the greens), to thin to desired consistency. Add salt to taste, about 1/2-1 tsp.
This could even make a great soup as well, just add more broth or water. I used it recently as a sauce to complement fermented mushrooms in a dish for a wild food tasting: