My spring mini-break this year is going to involve rambling through woods and fields and I could not be more excited. Though the main plan is to search for edibles (morels, nettles, elderflowers, fiddlehead ferns), the flower-lover in me is hoping to spot some spring ephemerals and early-flowering trees. Here's my dream foraging-kit, every component sure to be just as useful to me when I return to wild-in-a-different-way city life…
- The basket of my dreams! Handwoven in New York from sustainable-harvested rattan, the Market & Fruit Picking Pack will be perfect to carry delicate spring delights…and my laundry? So much more elegant than my old suitcase with a broken wheel!
- My L.L. Bean Maine Hunting Shoes (which will only be used for hunting ramps and thrift-store bargains) arrived yesterday and I have tried them on 4 times already, despite the fact that they take 20 minutes to lace up. Though I bought them with foraging in mind, they also solve the eternal San Francisco Rain Shoe Dilemma for me. I've been on the hunt for waterproof shoes that are hot enough to wear all the time (because it might rain at any moment!) and comfortable enough to walk for miles. And here they are! (Ladies: the tall 16-inch boots only come in Men's sizes- because why would girls want knee-high boots?- but don't let that stop you!)
- A whistle always comes in handy. Designed in 1870 and made in Birmingham, the Metropolitan Whistle is the perfect thing for anyone in your foraging party who is likely to wander off (that would be me). A good "ca-caw, ca-caw" a la Dignan in Bottle Rocket might do the trick, but a powerful whistle is a bit more trustworthy.
- How can you resist the cheerful yellow covers of the Rite-In-Rain notebooks? I can't, at least as gifts, but have never had occasion to buy one for myself. Oh, to sit on a mossy log, sketching wildflowers, blissfuly ignorant of the sudden spring downpour — and equally useful in rainy, picturesque San Francisco.
- I use my Japanese Kershaw Taskmaster Shears a few times everyday, whether for cutting herbs or fresh pasta, or for trimming flowers and branches that I bring home to arrange. The scissor blades are strong enough for most tasks, but the serious center blade (I believe they refer to it as a "bone notch"?!) can handle tough woody branches. All your wild edibles cutting needs, and a screwdriver and bottle opener to boot!
- I find this French mushroom brush by Opinel to be adorably old-world, and have always wanted one — even though I hate mushrooms. But that's not going to stop me from searching for them and trying new kinds! And speaking of bravery…
- After a long day of hiking and searching and possibly being cold and/or hot, a delicate city-girl might feel she's earned some street-cred, and maybe even a badge. Fortitude, perhaps, or Grace, if she can avoid falling in a creek? The Best Made Badge Set would be good to have on hand at all times, to reward everyday feats of kindness and strength.