Apple Seeds Teaching Farm's Wild Table workshop and dinner series took root April 11 in Fayetteville. Organizers say the series is "approaching food ethics, responsibility and the process of harvesting and curating food sourced from the wild. It is an exploration of self-reliance, feeding yourself and your family from wild resources responsibly and respectfully harvested."
At the table, the organizers continue, "we will merge the talents and expertise of the hunter, angler, butcher, forager, nutritionist and culinary artist as we take food from its point of origin to the table. This series will explore wild food as part of a healthy diet and as part of a sustainable food system."
The first installment of the series, "Forage and Feast: Early Spring Foraging," began at Veterans Memorial Park in Fayetteville with foraging forays into the forest led by experts Eric Fuselier; Jay Pitts; Bo Brown, author of "Foraging in the Ozarks"; and Stephanie Jordan, registered dietitian and nutritionist.
Fledgling foragers then adjourned to the Apple Seeds teaching kitchen for a dinner featuring their findings and created by Chef Haley O'Brien of Fractal NWA.
Future installments of the Wild Table series include:
• A Wild Dinner with Case Dighero, April 25 -- Rick Spicer will discuss the "wild" origins of our food and the ethics and sustainability of capturing food from wild resources, then Dighero "will continue the story by grilling, smoking, and putting fire to dinner";
• Summer Foraging: Mushroom Focus, June 27 -- Chef Kurt Plankenhorn of 28 Springs will share tips for preparing wild edibles, and Jordan will provide the background on the nutrition; and
• Fish Over Fire: Cooking Trout After the Catch, July 7 -- Spicer will lead the deboning and filleting lesson, followed by Darwin Beyer of Meiji leading a discussion about how to smoke and cure fish.
Tanya Collins, marketing director, tells me the nonprofit organization has been serving Northwest Arkansas since 2007 with the mission to "improve healthy living through garden-based education. We provide access, knowledge and skills to children about healthy food and build a connection to where it comes from. In 2020 we added donations of almost 5 tons of fresh produce to children and their families who need it most to our established educational program outreach."
Through its educational programs, in-person and virtually -- with swift, on-point adaptions when the need arose -- the group reached more than 9,000 students in 2020.
Collins says the group believes all children can have access to fresh fruits and vegetables; build a love for fresh, real food; be empowered with skills and nutritional knowledge for better food choices; and feel a sense of belonging when sitting down at the Apple Seeds table, either in-person or virtually.
For more event photos -- nwadg.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected]
At a Glance
Wild Table Workshop and Dinner Series
Who: Apple Seeds Teaching Farm
What: Forage and Feast: Early Spring Foraging
When: April 11
Where: Veterans Memorial Park and Apple Seeds Teaching Farm in Fayetteville
Next: A Wild Dinner with Case Dighero, April 25
Information: [email protected] or appleseedsnwa.org