poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘wild edibles

wild strawberries to pick

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In the field around our cabin, the wild strawberries are ready for picking. Red, sweet, delicious.





‘wild strawberries’ Jane Tims 2016


If you love picking berries, or eating those first dew-covered berries of summer, you will like my book of poems about gathering and eating wild local foods.

‘within easy reach’ is published by Chapel Street Editions in Woodstock, New Brunswick. The book is illustrated with my drawings and includes lots of information about each wild plant mentioned. The book is available here at Chapel Street Editions or here at


For another of my posts about wild strawberries, and a poem about picking wild strawberries, look here.


Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

growing and gathering – the benefits of eating ‘very local’ foods

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In 2007, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon embarked on a year-long experiment in eating local. Their book, The 100 Mile Diet – A Year of Local Eating, introduced many to the idea of obtaining their food from nearby sources. It reminded people about the thousands of kilometers our food has to travel to make it to our tables. It pointed out some of the barriers to ‘eating local’ and showed how, with a little ingenuity and effort, our diets could be more environmentally conscious and sustainable.

Eating local foods is a sound choice in our illogical world.  It supports local farmers and producers. It mitigates some of the energy costs associated with moving food hundreds of miles to the consumer. It honors our origins and connects us to our ancestors who lived their lives more simply and locally.

Into this concept of eating local, I include the idea of eating wild foods whenever possible. My mother grew up in a time when bulging grocery carts were unheard-of. Without subscribing to any particular theory of eating local, she supplemented her food with wild edibles as a matter of habit. In addition to using rhubarb and currents from her garden, she picked berries when they were in season, tried to convince her family to join her in eating dandelion greens and sour dock, and showed us how to pick spruce gum from spruce trees as a chewy treat.

Eating ‘very local’ has many benefits.  The edible plants growing right outside our doors are filled with nutrients, many are very palatable, even delicious, and they are present in great variety, and in all seasons.  They are free and are easy to harvest and prepare.  Picking berries or chewing spruce gum puts us in touch with nature and helps us to understand our role as a member of the ecosystem.  It honors the people who came before us and helps us connect with the way our parents and grand-parents lived their lives.  Identifying and picking wild plants for food is an enjoyable activity and a way to show your children how to be thrifty, engaged members of the ecosystem.

In an upcoming post, I will look at some of the ethical issues around using wild plants as food.



six bottles of jam


I reach up, for a cluster of pin cherries

and stop –

above me, my grand-mother’s hand

dry as a page from her recipes,

age-spotted, worried at the edges

her ankles are swollen, but she is determined –

enough berries for a half-dozen

bottles of pin cherry jam



© Jane Tims 2012

1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
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