Too be honest, I’m a little tired of talking about how cold it is out there this season. Instead, I’ve taken to daydreaming about warm spring mornings in the woods near friends’ cottages and afternoons spent foraging for wild blueberries amongst the pines.
That’s partly why I love this new series by Butternut Productions called In The Weeds.
In The Weeds is a web series that showcases the thrill and skill of foraging for fresh food in Ontario. A�Each episode follows a different group of talented chefs as they learn from foraging experts how to hunt for a specific ingredient–then cook with it.
It’s what I want to be doing right now.
In their pilot episode, they brought together one of my favorite stone fruit producersA�Milan Bizjak ofA�Bizjak FarmsA�withA�Chef Johnathan Poon ofA�ChanteclerA�to forage for morels amidst his peach orchard. A�After finding their fill of the glorious little shrooms, they sat down with some of the guys from The GroveA�and made a Morel and Bannock Salad.
The subject of my most recent mental excursions has been Mad Maple Country InnA�– thanks to the shows most recent episode, also featuring Toby & Michael fromA�Edulis RestaurantA�and Forager Jonathan Forbes fromA�Forbes Wild Foods.
Mad Maple Country Inn, run by the unforgettable MiriamA�Streiman and her partner Neil Epstein, is a classic agritourismo near Creemore. A�It’s also home to some lush chokecherry bushes–the subject of the episode.
Affectionately (ok, not so much) calledA�Prunus virginiana, chokecherries are an interesting plant. A�Raw chokecherries are often too bitter (and sour!) to eat raw. A�They’re actually toxic toA�horses, moose, cattle, goats, deer, and other animals with segmented stomachs. A�Lucky for me, I don’t have one of those. A�We humans usually enjoy them cooked or preserved � some of my favourites are syrups (for cocktails!) and jam (for pork chops!).
Now in my mind, I’m walking through humid woods, the air has a slight chill, searching for mushrooms and other morsels. Fueled by a hearty yet humble breakfast of thick cut bacon, farm eggs alongside fresh bread and butter — I’m not worried about being back on time… only that my basket of chokecherries is full enough to make three jars of jam.