Fall is a traditional time of harvest, but this harvest isn’t limited to crops grown on manmade farms. The forests and fields of our valleys supply many useful (and often delicious!) fruits in the fall months – if you know where and how to safely look for them. SFI’s class ‘Fall Foraging: Nuts & Roots’ provided students with a great introduction to these exact skills, and offered them the chance to create a number of treats along the way. Thanks to our volunteer host, Shana, for sharing her experience in class with us below! 

“Students had a great time learning about herbs and roots available in the region. There were rain showers throughout the day, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of our participants. As we headed out on the Siskiyou property, Lauren and Erin would stop and point out bushes, ferns or trees, explaining what they were and uses that were beneficial. We discovered some Oregon grape and Erin showed the participants how to gently and responsibly harvest the roots of this prolific bush. Next, we learned about the Oregon myrtle/California bay tree. This fragrant species produces leaves that can be used to keep insects ‘at bay’ or used for steam inhalation for congestion. We harvested the nuts to use later in the kitchen. We learned about many native plants that are useful for health remedies and food sources.”

“After lunch we gathered in the SFI kitchen where participants were given opportunity to clean and chop the items we had gathered. The Oregon grape was used for tincture; the dandelion root went into a chai tea; and the bay nuts were roasted and put into a food processor where they were chopped almost to a butter. The butter was scooped into a candy tray and sent to the freezer to set up. Later we enjoyed the tea, acorn muffins and candy truffles made from bay nuts.”

“This was a fun, very informative and interactive class. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we didn’t go home empty handed – we each have a jar of Oregon grape tincture that we made! In addition, we have the recipes to make all the items at home. This was great and am up for volunteering any time, thanks for the opportunity.”


~ Shana Ford, volunteer host