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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

Foraging in the Forests with Steve Brill and Hayden Stebbins: Mushroom Weekend at Sticks and Stones

Aug 03, 2016 12:38AM

Steve Brill

Residing in Fairfield County provides us with the unique opportunity of living at a certain crossroads between New York City—one of the world’s most diverse and vibrant cities—and the quiet but equally diverse and vibrant woodlands of Connecticut.

With our farmer’s markets and gourmet restaurants, it’s easy to develop an appreciation for organically grown and freshly prepared foods. The pleasure of a morning at an open air market is difficult to trump. The emotional feelings we get from meeting our farmers and handpicking our vegetables is just as important as the physical boons we gain when we stay away from harsh pesticides and refrain from buying produce grown on massive farms across the country.

It isn’t difficult to realize that consuming locally and sustainably grown foods is, by far, a better way to eat and live. But we can take it one step further. Imagine the sense of awareness we would feel to look off into the forest and see plants we know we could safely eat? If we take advantage of the bounty in the forests around us, we can create for ourselves a food experience that truly is intimate.

There is a real difference between looking up at the shelves of produce illuminated by the fluorescent lights and the experience of moving aside a bit of earth to discover a delicious and rare edible that you’ve been quietly searching for. To be a part of the entire process our food travels from the ground to our meal.

Our forests are teeming with an endless array of edible plants and fungi and, with some time, you too can reap the harvests that our forests freely offer us. We can reconnect with our food and invest in our own well-being by relearning the ancient wisdom of our ancestors. Mushrooms, in particular, are incredibly healthy. They provide us with lean protein and have no cholesterol or fat. Mushrooms can even help to regulate cholesterol levels, thus strengthening our bodies against all sorts of ailments. Vitamin D, difficult to find in vegetables, is common in mushrooms. The fungi also contain ergothioneine, which helps boost our immune system and protects us from free radicals.

Come for a weekend experience in Sticks and Stones Farm’s 60-acre forest to learn the art of mushroom foraging with legendary “Wildman” Steve Brill and local foraging master Hayden Stebbins. During the September 16-18 mycology weekend, we will walk through the woods identifying and collecting mushrooms, discovering ways to prepare mushrooms, and learning about the future uses of mushrooms in our foods and beyond.

For more details and reservations, email [email protected]. Location: 201 Huntingtown Rd, Newtown. See ad, page 8.

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