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When running on trails, why reach for that gel packet in your shorts when there’s tasty fuel as far as the eye can see? Welcome to the wild world of foraging. Here’s a guide to what you can eat on the trails.
If you’re thinking of picking, follow tips from two experienced foragers, Heather Goodspeed-Walters and Hyewon Grigoni.
5 Rules For Foraging
Find a friend.
Grigoni says that a knowledgeable local is the best source for foraging advice. She likes to ask neighbors who have lived in the area a long time, adding, “When I see other people on walks take an interest in the flora, I always stop and ask them what they’re doing.”
Hit the stacks.
Goodspeed-Walters says, “I highly recommend going to your bookstore and investing in some guidebooks specifically for your area.”
All you really need is two hands and a willing palate, but more advanced foragers will want some supplies. Our two experts recommend plastic or reusable bags for greens and a little plastic pitcher for more delicate eats like berries or plums. Small pruning shears, a shovel and gloves will be helpful for pricklier finds.
Know before you go if the area you’re foraging is ripe for the picking. Some preserves, state parks and private land forbid disruption.
The importance of a positive identification can’t be overstated. When in doubt, don’t eat. Likewise, avoid land where pesticides, herbicides or polluted water might be present.