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University of Minnesota Extension

Foraging in Minnesota Workshop

Foraging in Minnesota Workshop

By Katie Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension 

PRESTON and CALEDONIA, Minn. (07/25/2023) — Join the University of Minnesota Extension for a foraging workshop on Friday, September 8, 2023 in Houston MN. Hunting for wild edibles in woodland or home landscapes has become more popular in recent years. There are many native plants that are considered edible. Foragers need to be aware of the possible food safety issues in selecting the right plants and preparing them correctly. There may also be foraging harvest restrictions or permits needed on public, state, or federal lands. Obviously, foragers must ask permission to hunt on private lands. 

Mushrooms are the biggest concern in properly identifying edible and poisonous fungi. The MN Mycological Society is a great resource for mushroom hunters. Dandelions, fiddleheads, leeks/ramps, stinging nettles, plantain, and burdock are among many home and woodland plants that are edible in the spring. The summer and fall also provide edible mushrooms, fruits and nuts like Juneberries, raspberries, blueberries, Aronia berry and hazelnuts. When harvesting edibles, use sustainable practices like harvesting only 10%. 

The Minnesota Harvester Handbook is an excellent wild gatherers resource which addresses sustainable natural resource harvest practices and uses. The University of Minnesota Extension and other contributors developed this resource. The Minnesota Harvester Handbook highlights sustainable harvest and gathering for more than twenty, non-timber forest products. This publication reviews many popular forest products like maple syrup, fiddlehead fern, birch bark, juneberry, thimbleberry, wild rice, basswood, chaga, firewood, balsam boughs, princess pine, red osier dogwood, tree cones/seeds, mushrooms including Morel, Oyster, King Bolete, Sweet tooth, Lobster, Chicken-of-the-woods, Hen-of-the-woods, and Chanterelle.

If you are foraging, you need to be aware of how you can spread invasive species unknowingly throughout the woodlands. There are also endangered plant species that should not be disturbed.

Forage educational workshops are being scheduled in the summer and fall this year. The registration fee at the door will be $20 and participants will receive a MN Harvester Handbook. There may also be an outdoor hike at the end of the indoor discussion period. Come prepared for a hike on the trail weather permitting. Foraging topics from the MN Harvester Handbook and the topics above will be discussed. Come to share your foraging experience and expertise while learning from others.

The local workshop will be September 8, 2023 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Houston Nature Center (215 W Plum Street, Houston, MN). The workshop is free to attend. The Minnesota Harvester Handbook will be available to purchase at the workshop at a discount price of $20. Please preregister at https://z.umn.edu/wildforaging

If you need assistance with registration or have questions about this or any other Agriculture, Horticulture or Natural Resources topic please reach out to your Local Extension Educator. Residents in Fillmore and Houston counties can call 507-765-3896 or 507-725-5807.  

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