Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 61

FORAGING GUIDELINES
Ross Weisiger forages for his vitamins, slipping
nutritious weeds he finds around his Greenbrier
County, West Virginia, farm into most meals.
Dandelions are a richer source of vitamin A than
carrots, have more calcium than a glass of milk
and more iron than spinach, he says.

ABOVE: Hikers at Watoga State Park's Wild Edibles
Festival inspect a slope for wintergreen berries.
RIGHT: At least one West Virginia winery bottles
garlicky ramp wine, better for cooking than romance.

Plantain, yellow dock and chickweed-
the bane of lawn-owners-are purported
to maintain the body's intestinal flora
and treat skin conditions, she says. She's
especially laudatory of an invasive bamboo relative that landscapers attack with
machetes-Japanese knotweed-which is
used in natural remedies for Lyme disease.
"So many of these weeds are right
under our noses waiting for us to need
them," she said.

HERE ARE HIS GUIDELINES FOR FORAGING:
1. Do not eat unknown plants. Identify with
good resources, like "Peterson's Guide to
Wild Edible Plants."Learn which part of the plant
you can eat. Pokeweed, for instance, is edible only
in the shoot, after it is blanched several times.
2. Plants can pick up pollutants, so don't harvest
close to a main road, an industrial lot or where
pesticides have been used.
3. Respect the plant and its place in ecology.
Don't take it all; leave at least half for future
propagation, local ecology and other life.
4. Test for allergic reactions. If it's new to you,
try a teaspoonful, then spit it out. Wait 24 hours.
If no reaction, chew and swallow a teaspoonful. Then wait 24 hours to see how your system
responds.

MAY/JUNE 2020

61


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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover3
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