Marie Viljoen’s Seasonal Retrospective of Edible Finds

For foragers (and anyone whose spirit is entwined with day-length) facing down a steel-bleak Northern January can be daunting. The brighter days of spring’s promise lie far behind the winter months to come. There is good news, though: Every night is now a little shorter, every day, a little longer. And a small therapy that counters the seasonal gloom can be helpful: Looking back encourages us look forward. It is easy to forget, or dismiss, the good things past. But taking a moment to review your year will reveal episodes of delight. Every person’s retrospective will be different, and the pictorial glimpse below is a small taste of what makes my forager’s heart beat more strongly, just when it needs a boost. An image recalls a rainstorm, the scent of flowers, the sound of laughter. Even the cold months offer solace and surprise.

Photography by Marie Viljoen.


Above: Dinner plate-sized oyster mushrooms gathered from a log on a frozen January day.
Above: And…inhale. Fir sugar made from our organic holiday tree’s needles, destined for pistachio cookies.

Above: A winter breakfast of sugar-broiled grapefruit with a whisper of chopped fir needles.


Above: Intrepid New Yorkers gathering with me for a frigid February forage picnic. Photograph by Jenny Hamp.
Above: Chickweed’s corn-silk-tasting tips and ground ivy’s herbal leaves atop eight-minute eggs.
Above: Smoked sardines under a comforter of winter-hardy field garlic.


Above: The first daylily shoots, destined for blanching, and bruschetta.
Above: Optimistic deviled eggs with the earliest cherry blossoms (Prunus x subhirtella).

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