Author and expert Forager Briana Wiles visits The Bookworm, Aug. 26
If you go …
What: Author event with Briana Wiles, author of “Mountain States Foraging.”
When: 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26.
Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk at Edwards.
Cost: $15, includes appetizers.
More information: Call 970-926-7323, or visit www.bookwormofedwards.com.
EDWARDS — Foraging has become a popular lifestyle choice for people in mountain states, particularly with the abundance of fresh foods and herbs in the Rocky Mountains. It is a lifestyle that can easily be adopted and is readily accessible if you have the right tools. Today, The Bookworm of Edwards will host an event to provide the tools you need to forage safely and productively.
Briana Wiles, author of “Mountain States Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alpine Sorrel to Wild Hops,” has centered her life on foraging in her local area. The author currently lives in Gunnison, but was born and raised in Michigan. Her passion for foraging was instilled at a young age and has been central to her life ever since.
“I remember my grandfather had this fountain of knowledge when it came to plants we could walk up to and eat,” Wiles said. “He knew all of these places to go and would find fruit trees. We would pick blackberries and blueberries, and I absolutely loved it. Since then, I’ve always been in the alternative health world, studying botany and becoming an herbalist by trade. Everything kind of pushed me towards this life I have.”
Wiles’ publisher approached her with the prospect of a new project to create. The idea was to put together a foraging guidebook specifically focused on the mountain states. This project seemed to fall into Wiles’ lap at the perfect time.
“I had a 9-month-old baby boy at the time I was approached to write and research this book,” she said. “I thought it would work out wonderfully and would be the perfect job for a mom. Well, in reality, it was a huge bite to chew!
“My kid came with me to all the photo shoots and traveled with me to all of our locations. It was equally stressful and awesome because he really got to experience foraging firsthand and at such a young age. At this point, he loves greens that are picked instead of what would come from the grocery store.”
About ‘Mountain States Foraging’
“Mountain States Foraging” covers a wide variety of herbs and produce that can be found and picked. With vivid pictures and Wiles’ firsthand experience, the book explains how to gather, eat and preserve each plant and herb. She begins the book with a clear list of what not to eat, providing a safe foundation for first-time foragers. Wiles did extensive research for this project.
Warning: The result of a consistent foraging lifestyle can lead to very full refrigerators, freezers and basements.
“My fridge is a combo of farmers market, wild food, blueberries raspberries — you name it,” Wiles said. “The way I preserve my findings is to use them in oils and butters and then I freeze them. So my freezer looks a little funky. I have a whole room in half of our basement set aside as my apothecary. It’s full of dried herbs and vinegars and all kinds of natural goodies.”
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.