“i have learned that there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusion between moments of valid inspiration”-steve martin
my name is traci, and i am a forage-a-holic. i think i was born foraging, but i still remember my 2 biggest pushers. the first was roseanne, a tiny elderly lady with the biggest fluffiest ragmop of black hair you can imagine. she probably weighed 90 pounds and dwelled amongst piles of gowns and woolens in the basement of her lavender-shuttered suburban ranch house. basically, you could go into the basement and rifle through the bags, boxes and hangers to find vintage treasure and she would bag it up, name a ridiculously low price, and throw in free nude nylons and polka-dotty scarves to make sure you could bring it all together. i still cherish a ridiculous rhinestone-studded mother-in-law number i found there 20 years ago. she has passed the mantle on to her daughters who run it as a thrift store combined with a head shop and wigs….it’s not the same. she taught me to look under, over, around and through.
i was born to forage. the knowledge that one will, eventually, uncover buried treasure-it is very tempting. i love bottle dumps. i love library book sales. beachcombing. free boxes.
one day this proclivity of mine met an edible mushroom. i still remember the day. 6 years ago this fall. i was at a communal farm and 2 foragers presented me with a pan of fungi. rafter and andy, they had boxes of extraterrestrial grifola frondosa. i was coaxed into trying a bite of the buttery bits…and something clicked in my brain. oh, yeah. angels trumpeted, suns rose, moons spun stars into silver drops of dust.
i became a mushroom forager.
a love of foraging can be encouraged, but not taught. it is innate. all 3 of my kids forage, but one is really really good. we all have a basic foraging ability. we are animals. but we are wasting our ability on freaking bejeweled blitz and wheel of fortune. the desire must be activated! i find foraging satisfying to my primal side, which i didn’t realize existed until i ate that bite of fungi.
and activation is really what i am talking about here. i am an herbalist, and what that means to me is i match people and plants. i introduce people to plant medicines and get the hell out of the way. because it is not about me, it is about YOU forming a relationship of your own with plants. a lot of what i do is help you awaken with my flava. whether it is awakening your spirit with rose or awakening your gall bladder with turmeric or awakening your saliva with bitters the taste of my plant medicines, made with love, say more than this blog ever will. (thank goodness, really.) this is why i offer apothecary tastings, maintain a large bag of testers and always offer to taste tinctures and plant materials at my classes.
smell and taste access places in our brain and history that no written or spoken word have the ability to go, and may not be understood until later. tasting medicinal herbs/foods/fungi is like putting money in the bank of emotional knowledge to withdraw later when you need it.
it is exciting to have another voice with which to communicate with. and flavor is that voice.