|Toyon berries are vaguely cherry-tasting and can be made into jam or put in baked goods|
|Mia, left, tosses chickweed salad while Pascal points out wild pickles|
Mia Wasilevich is the foodie part -- she finds ways to make wild foods taste great, while Pascal Baudar is the foraging part -- the Belgian native grew up learning wild foods while rambling in the forest, but he's lived in L.A. for years and knows our foodshed well, especially desert plants. We met up up in La Canada's Hahamongna Park, known to generations of Tom Sawyer campers as home of the one-eyed monster tunnel, but also home to a veritable salad bowl of easily-accessible edibles. Easy, that is, if you have some guidance -- don't be fooled by poison hemlock, which looks surprisingly similar to carrot tops escaped from a vegetable patch.
|Pascal touches nettles without gloves, but you shouldn't|
|Pickled yucca shoots and radish pods|
Classes in foraging and cooking are offered most Saturdays for $65, while Pascal offers other workshops like Beer with Wild Plants and Basic Trapping (great if you want to catch your own rabbit or quail!) through his Urban Outdoor Skills. Hopefully I'll never need to survive on chickweed and gophers, but it's a good feeling to know what might make a nice snack while others hike right past it and then buy arugula at the store.