Tales from the Wild Table - Connie Green #155


What a pleasure it was to speak with lifelong forager and pioneer in sustainable commercial wild food and mushroom foraging, Connie Green. Connie founded one of the very first and largest wild food businesses in the U.S., Wine Forest, where she still resides as “head huntress,” overseeing a beautifully rich and diverse selection of wild foods furnished to top chefs, restaurants, retailers and consumers. Friends of the forest, Connie and her team believe that wild food harvesting goes hand in hand with a love and respect for the ecosystems where these delectable wild edibles grow.

In this episode, Connie takes us back in time through the landscape of foraging over the past few decades and shares how she got her start in the commercial foraging business. She illuminates the commercial side of the foraging world with a focus on what she considers to be the secret ingredient in bridging the ancestral practice of hunting and gathering with modern gourmet cooking: sustainability and ethical harvesting practices. 

We also explore some tactical “in the field” topics, such as Connie’s indispensable foraging equipment and her recommendations for how to get started foraging. Tune in and be inspired — or re-inspired — to participate in your local ecology by hunting and gathering from your landscape!

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:

  • Show Introduction:
    • Got a question for Kim Anami about healthy sexuality?
    • Hunt + gather updates: Freediving in Florida
    • Q&A: Back support on long car rides
  • Introducing Connie Green
  • How Connie came to this way of life
  • The landscape of foraging over the decades
  • On Euell Gibbons - the great grandfather of foraging
  • Wild food in restaurants
  • Crossroads between wild foods and agriculture
  • Eating invasives
  • The sustainability of hobbyist and commercial foragers
  • Level of processing for the commercial forager
  • Connie’s indispensable foraging equipment
  • Plant people, mushroom people, animal people
  • Getting started foraging
  • A message to aspiring foragers
  • Connie’s prognosis for the future of the human species
  • Where to find Connie’s work

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Meet Connie

Connie Green has been foraging mushrooms, berries, greens and other wild foods for thirty years. As the founder of one of the first and one of the largest wild foods businesses in the U.S., Connie has sold ingredients to most of the top chefs in California and around the country including Thomas Keller, Daniel Patterson, Patricia Unterman, Traci des Jardins, Gary Danko, Jeremiah Tower, Judy Rodgers, Bradley Ogden, Julian Serrano, Cindy Pawlcyn, and many more. Owner and “head huntress” of Wine Forest, she has been featured in the French Laundry Cookbook (Artisan 1999), Bouchon (Artisan 2004), and Terra, Cooking from the heart of Napa Valley (Ten Speed Press 2000) as well as others. Television-show appearances include National Geographic, Great Chefs of Napa Valley, multiple appearances on Michael Chiarello’s cooking shows, Ciao Italia, and others. She’s appeared in numerous magazines including a feature in Martha Stewart Living, Via, San Francisco Magazine, as well as newspaper articles from the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York Times.