Morel season may be over in mid-Michigan, but worry not mushroom hunters: there are plenty of edible plants that can currently be found throughout Genesee County.
“You can forage green things, too,” says Rachel Mifsud, owner of Will Forage for Food, who leads a variety of foraging workshops in Genesee County and around the state. “Right now, wild asparagus is in season and should be until early June.”
Also in season right now are:
- Cattail shoots, which are perfect for pickling
- Oyster mushrooms, often found 15 feet off the ground on aspen, poplar and birch trees
- Wild oregano, which can easily be harvested and dried.
However, Mifsud is quick to caution: If you’re going to scope out a state or county park, check the rules first. Everyone has a different policy when it comes to foraging.
Take, for instance, Genesee County Parks. While you can’t pick flowers, roots, fruits or nuts, the parks do permit mushroom hunting (with the exception of For-Mar Nature Preserve).
To learn more about some of the common edible and medicinal plants that grow in our area, check out one of Genesee County Parks' "Foraging for Wild Edibles" programs throughout the year, or Mifsud’s Foraging Workshop on Saturday, June 17 at E.A. Cummings Event Center. During the two-hour event, participants will identify and learn about more than 15 seasonal plants and mushrooms.
She will also lead a Mushroom Walk on Sept. 16 at the Robert Williams Nature Center, which is part of Davison Township Parks & Recreation. Participants will seek out popular fall mushrooms, including puffballs, honey mushrooms and chicken of the woods.
The benefits of foraging are endless, says Mifsud, rattling off a laundry list of perks. “It’s free. It’s fun. It’s healthy, organic and local.”
It’s also good exercise, she adds. “Foraging gets you off the coach and into the fresh air. It’s like Pokemon GO, but with free food as the reward.”
To stay posted on what’s in season and when, check out www.willforageforfood.com.