This year to celebrate Mother’s Day I was given the gift of not only coffee in bed but an opportunity to calmly escape the morning family chaos and join Emily van Lidth de Jeude on the second part of her Wild Food Identification walks.
The two day course held over two weekends in April and May is intended to give us locals some starting tips on how to forage on this island for wild food and I certainly walked away not only feeling more knowledgeable about local wild foods but also a better understanding about our beautiful island as a whole.
Our first walk in April started with meeting under the beautiful cherry blossom at BICS where we all gathered around and sampled some of Emily’s tree needle tea and potent burdock tea (who needs coffee!). We then took only a dozen of steps before Emily started pointing out different edible leafy greens and flowers, Herb Robert, salmonberry blossoms, burdock, fiddleheads and learned quite quickly about the distinctive taste of oxalic acid (which is present in many wild greens.)
After our first walk Emily encouraged us to get out foraging on our own. My two girls and I took in the offerings of spring and went out scavenging! Firm favourites in our house are the sweet pink petals of the salmonberry along with liquorice fern and its amazing calming effects. Thanks to this course my five year- old is now not only able to identify a maple tree (the likely host of the liquorice fern) but also able with her dainty little fingers to feel for their green tender roots hidden under the covering moss for a quick snack as we wander to the cove.
So thank you to both my family for allowing me a few peaceful mornings in the forest but also to Emily for sharing her vast amount of knowledge about the nature of Bowen Island in such a hands-on and informative way.