Foraging Pittsburgh

Wild Food Walks, Workshops, & Guided Nature Hikes


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New Event! Fall Flora & Fungi Hike at McConnells Mill State Park

fallflorafungimcmill

On Sunday, November 13th I will be leading a great event — “Fall Flora & Fungi Hike at McConnells Mill State Park” — and, I’d love for you to join us!

Autumn is the perfect time to explore the backcountry in Western Pennsylvania in search of interesting and useful plants, trees, and mushrooms.  McConnells Mill State Park, with its deeply-cut gorges, hemlock-lined ravines, whitewater currents, and historical landmarks is a prime area for autumn exploration.

During this event, we will hike a 2-mile loop around the park while discussing various subjects related to Pennsylvania’s flora and fungi, including:

  • edible and medicinal plants
  • edible and medicinal mushrooms
  • tree identification, along with edible and medicinal uses
  • medicine-making using wild plants and mushrooms
  • natural history of the area

… and more!

The program will entail moderate hiking (the terrain includes some rocks and hills), and the event will take place rain or shine.  Please note that in order to maximize your learning experience, space is limited and registration with payment in advance is required to secure your spot.  The exact event location will be provided upon registration.

Interested?  Here are more details:

What: Fall Flora & Fungi Hike At McConnells Mill State Park
When: Sunday, November 13th 2016
Where: McConnells Mill State Park, Western Pennsylvania
Time: 1-3:30 PM
Investment: $20

To register, please contact me (Adam) at
adam@learnyourland.com

Come celebrate autumn with a great group of hikers on November 13th!  We look forward to seeing you there!

Be wild,
Adam Haritan

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New Event! Acorn Harvesting And Processing Class & Autumn Foraging Walk

acornworkshopflyer2016

Before there were cupcakes, white bread sandwiches, and Little Debbie snack cakes… there were acorns.

And life was good…

Sure, there were no iPhones, shopping malls, or Sunday afternoon football games… and Bieber had yet to hit the scene.  A boring life some may say!

But there were acorns!

Lots and lots of acorns, waiting to be harvested by people (on 4 different continents!) who knew exactly how to dry, store, process, and turn them into life-sustaining food.

Sure, these familiar tree nuts still blanket our yards, parks, and wooded areas today, though unless we’re taking them home to make Thanksgiving crafts, we leave the acorns alone.

That’s fine, of course, for the squirrels, jays, and oak tree populations.  They enjoy seeing so many acorns out and about.

But for our health?  Maybe not so much!

Here’s why…

The acorn is America’s original superfood.  At around 14% fat, 42% carbohydrate, 9% fiber, 32% water, and 3.5% protein, the acorn is also replete with vitamins, minerals, and numerous phytonutrients.

Plus, they embody all the latest buzz words in the health food scene:  local, organic, sustainable, gluten-free, non-GMO… you get the point.

Here’s the catch:  You can’t just eat acorns off the ground.  They contain certain compounds that must be gently removed.  After a few simple processing steps, however, you can soon have your very own acorn flour… which can be made into bread, porridge, pancakes, meatballs, cookies, and more!

If you’re interested in learning how to properly process acorns, I invite you to join me for the upcoming Acorn Harvesting And Processing Class at North Park in Allegheny County (followed by an autumn foraging walk)!

In this program, you will learn:

  • Acorn gathering tips (how to separate the good from the bad)
  • Differences between red and white oak groups (important for processing)
  • Several leaching methods
  • Drying and storing methods, and more!

Additionally, during the second part of the program you will learn autumn plant and mushroom identification, edible and medicinal uses of wild plants, medicine-making tips, and a whole lot more!

Each participant will have the opportunity to taste a treat made with acorns, and will receive an e-book (on acorns, of course!) following the class.

Interested?  Here are more details…

When:  Saturday, October 22nd, 2016
Time:  1-4:30 PM
Where:  North Park in Allegheny County, Western Pennsylvania (exact location emailed to participants)
Investment:  $45

Note:  Space for this program is limited in order to maximize the learning environment.  Registration with payment in advance is required to secure your spot.

To register, please email Adam:
adam@learnyourland.com

Come enjoy an eventful autumn day in a beautiful park with a great group of foragers!  We look forward to seeing you there!

-Adam Haritan


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New Event: Spring Foraging Hike Around The Lake

springforaginghikearoundlake3I am happy to announce that I will be leading the “Spring Foraging Hike Around The Lake” event on Sunday, May 22nd at Moraine State Park in Butler County, Pennsylvania.

As the spring season continues, more and more edible plants continue to make appearances.   True — many spring ephemerals have come and gone, though the next round of annual and perennial greens are sure to be found.  This transitional time is the perfect opportunity to learn the skills involved in foraging for wild food.  Shoots, greens, buds, and flowers are among the various plant structures that are available for harvesting.  Learn how to properly identify and harvest various wild species in Pennsylvania so that you can achieve greater levels of health, self-reliance, and nature connection.

This event will feature a 2.5 hour hike (approximately 2 miles) around the beautiful Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park.  We will explore and discuss several mid-late spring edible and medicinal wild plants in their habitats.  Though mushrooms will not be the focus of the event, we will briefly introduce the subject.

By attending the Spring Foraging Hike Around The Lake event on Sunday May 22nd, you will learn:

  • The importance of foraging for wild edible plants and mushrooms
  • Sustainable harvesting practices
  • Wild plant identification
  • Wildflower identification
  • Tree identification
  • Edible and medicinal uses of trees
  • Wild plant nutrition
  • Culinary applications
  • Medicinal benefits

…and much more!

What do you think?  Are you interested in hiking around a beautiful lake with a great group of foragers?  Here are the details:

Where: Moraine State Park in Butler County, Western Pennsylvania (40 miles north of Pittsburgh)
When: Sunday, May 22nd 2016
Times: 10am — 12:30pm, or 1:30pm — 4:00pm (please specify which time slot you prefer)
Investment: $25 per individual

Note: There are 2 time slots listed above to keep the group sizes smaller. Please let me know which time slot you prefer.

This event entails moderate hiking, and is geared towards adults.  It will take place rain or shine.  Space for this event is limited in order to maximize the learning environment, and registration with payment in advance is required.  The exact meeting location will be provided upon registration.

To register, please contact me (Adam) at:
adamharitan@gmail.com

(…and don’t forget to mention which time slot works for you!)

I hope to see you there!
—Adam Haritan


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A Grateful Recap Of This Past Year’s Foraging Events

As another calendar year slowly transitions into the next, I’d like to take a brief moment to thank each and every single one of you who supported the work of Foraging Pittsburgh, Wild Foodism, and Learn Your Land — all projects I currently manage.

Countless individuals attended foraging walks I hosted throughout Western Pennsylvania, and I am grateful.  We began in early spring with the wildflowers and edible plants, and finished in mid-autumn with acorn processing.

Here are a few pictures from this past year’s events:

mcmillmushroomwalk

“Medicinal Mushroom Workshop & Summer Foraging Hike” at McConnells Mill State Park

adamnorthparklearnyourland

“Wild Plants As Medicine & Summer Foraging Hike” at North Park

llbeanmushroomhikelearnyourland

“Hunting Wild Mushrooms” with L.L. Bean at North Park

WEMPHartwood

“Wild Edible & Medicinal Plants” with True North Wilderness Survival School, Hartwood Acres

adamsleepymoonfarm

“Foraging The Countryside” at Sleepy Moon Farm — Scandia, PA

Additionally, it was a pleasure leading foraging events for Mt. Lebanon School District, University of Pittsburgh, Trowel and Error Garden Club of Sewickley, and many more organizations!

As I reflect on this past year, I am continually amazed by the number of people interested in connecting with our land in this most intimate way.  Foraging for wild plants and mushrooms is more than a hobby.  Its purpose is not limited to providing nourishment for the body.  Ultimately, eating wild species from our landscape ensures deep nourishment for the soul… a soul that has been longing for this reunion between ourselves and our land since the day we arrived on this planet.  I am excited to witness the seeds we’ve planted this year blossom into the most rewarding lifestyle ever imagined — one that involves connection, appreciation, and freedom.

Stay tuned for the upcoming year’s foraging events.  I’ve got many great programs in the works, and I’m excited to bring lots of new information forward!  If you’re not signed up for the Foraging Pittsburgh email list to receive notifications for upcoming events, you can sign up here.

Thank you, again and again and again!
-Adam Haritan

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New Event Scheduled! Acorn Harvesting/Processing Class & Autumn Foraging Walk

chestnutoakacornswildfoodism

Before there were cupcakes, white bread sandwiches, and Little Debbie snack cakes… there were acorns.

And life was good…

Sure, there were no iPhones, shopping malls, or Sunday afternoon football games… and pop music had yet to hit the scene.  A boring life some may say!

But there were acorns!

Lots and lots of acorns, waiting to be harvested by people (on 4 different continents!) who knew exactly how to dry, store, process, and turn them into life-sustaining food.

Sure, these familiar tree nuts still blanket our yards, parks, and wooded areas today, though unless we’re taking them home to make snazzy Thanksgiving crafts, we leave the acorns alone.

That’s fine, of course, for the squirrels, jays, and oak tree populations.  They enjoy seeing so many acorns out and about.

But for our health?  Maybe not so much!

Here’s why…

The acorn is America’s original superfood.  At around 14% fat, 42% carbohydrate, 9% fiber, 32% water, and 3.5% protein, the acorn is also replete with vitamins, minerals, and numerous phytonutrients.

Plus, they’re all the latest buzz words:  local, organic, sustainable, gluten-free, non-GMO… you get the point.

Here’s the catch:  You can’t just eat acorns off the ground.  They contain certain compounds that must be gently removed.  After a few simple processing steps, however, you can soon have your very own acorn flour… which can be made into bread, porridge, pancakes, meatballs, cookies, and more!

If you’re interested in learning how to properly process acorns, I invite you to join me for the upcoming Acorn Harvesting/Processing Class at North Park in Allegheny County (followed by an autumn foraging hike)!

In this program, you will learn:

  • Acorn gathering tips (how to separate the good from the bad)
  • Differences between red and white oak groups (important for processing)
  • Several leaching methods
  • Drying and storing methods, and more!

Additionally, during the second part of the program you will learn autumn plant identification, edible and medicinal uses of wild plants, medicine-making tips, and a whole lot more!

Each participant will have the opportunity to taste a treat made with acorns, and will receive an e-book (on acorns, of course!) following the class.

Here are some more details:

When:  Saturday, October 24th, 2015
Time:  1-4 PM
Where:  North Park in Allegheny County, Western Pennsylvania (exact location emailed to participants)
Investment:  $45

Registration with payment in advance is required to secure your spot.
To register, please email Adam:
adamharitan [at] gmail [dot] com

Note:  Space for this program is limited in order to maximize the learning environment.

Come enjoy an eventful autumn day in a beautiful park with a great group of foragers!  We look forward to seeing you there!


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Hunting Wild Mushrooms in Western Pennsylvania With L.L. Bean Pittsburgh

llbeanmushroomhikelearnyourland

It doesn’t get much better than leading a wild mushroom discussion & hike at North Park in conjunction with L.L. Bean!  For those who missed the event, here’s a quick recap:

During the first part of the program, we discussed mushroom hunting basics, followed by medicinal mushroom identification and harvesting (with a focus on chaga, reishi, turkey tail, maitake, and birch polypore).

We then explored the south ridge of the park in search of fresh fungal fruiting bodies.  Even though it has been fairly dry, we found quite a few mushrooms worth discussing!

Here’s a partial list of what we found on Saturday, September 5th 2015 at North Park in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania:

  • Honey mushrooms (Armillaria sp.)
  • Yellow-cracked bolete (Xerocomus subtomentosus)
  • Common Psathyrella (Psathyrella candolleana)
  • Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
  • Violet toothed polypore (Trichaptum biforme)
  • False turkey tail (Stereum ostrea)
  • Artist’s conk (Ganoderma applanatum)
  • Reishi (Ganoderma sp.)
  • Luminescent Panellus (Panellus stipticus)
  • White fly agaric (Amanita muscaria var. alba)
  • Mustard yellow polypore (Phellinus gilvus)

A big thanks to everyone who attended, and to L.L. Bean Pittsburgh for hosting the event!

We still have several weeks of prime mushroom hunting season ahead of us here in Pennsylvania… let’s make the most of it!

Resource from workshops:  Guide To Medicinal Mushrooms: Identification, Medicinal Benefits, Medicine Making, & More (click to view/download)

And an updated version.


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“Wild Plants As Medicine” Workshop And Summer Foraging Hike Recap

adamnorthparklearnyourland

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Wild Plants As Medicine workshop & summer foraging hike last Saturday in North Park!  We couldn’t have asked for a better day.  Stay tuned for many more!

If you’d like to know which plants can be found now in Western Pennsylvania (late summer/early fall), here’s a list of the species we discussed/found:

1. Fox grape (Vitis labrusca)
2. Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
3. Early goldenrod (Solidago juncea)
4. Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
5. Burdock (Arctium lappa)
6. Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
7. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
8. Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)
9. White sweet clover (Melilotus alba)
10. *Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia)
11. *White snakeroot (Ageratina altissima)
12. *Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans)
13. **Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
14. Bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus)
15. *Devil’s walking stick (Aralia spinosa)
16. Agrimony (Agrimonia parviflora)
17. Sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus)
18. Joe-Pye weed (Eutrochium fistulosum)
19. Wild hops (Humulus lupulus)
20. *Glossy buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
21. Black gum (Nyssa sylvatica)
22. Staghorn sumac (Rhus hirta)
23. Indian tobacco (Lobelia inflata)
24. Virginia jumpseed (Persicaria virginiana)
25. Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
26. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)
27. Hawthorn (Crataegus sp.)
28. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica)
29. *Japanese bristlegrass (Setaria faberi)

*Denotes inedible and/or toxic species
**Young shoots edible only; all other parts toxic