These Days: an update

Hello my friends from the internet ether.  I haven't written for a while, and I wanted to give an update of the goings on at forageSF: 1. I've been talking to Hank Shaw, a guy who writes a pretty amazing blog called Hunter, Angler, Gardner,Cook, about collaborating on a dinner. We're going to take 20 or so people out on a fishing boat (already pretty exciting), and then invite them to a Wild Kitchen dinner made with the catch. I've been following his blog for about a year now, and was really excited when I got the email from him. It will be partly an event to promote his new book Hunt, Gather, Cook, which I myself have on pre-order. If you're interested in cooking, hunting, foraging or fishing, his blog is one to get in the google reader, really great stuff, with great pictures.  The dinner is planned for July, and we'll be opening up tickets for sale sometime in May, so hope you'll join us.

2. I finally sent out my own book proposal for a book on The Wild Kitchen, with recipes, stories, pictures, and a bit of food politics (never imagined just writing the proposal of what a book will be could take so long). I had a ton of help from my friend Will Schrom, who reads book proposals for a living, so I think it turned out pretty well. Sent it off to agents a couple days a ago, and already heard back from a couple!

3. I'm going hunting! My very first real boar hunt is this weekend down in Southern CA.  I am very excited, got the gun all sighted in (means I practiced at the range to get the scope to read accurately at 100 yards) with lead free bullets, got my pig tag, and huge knife.  I'm ready. This time next week, I will have become a man.  I'm planning on having a huge boar roast if I get one, so maybe Ill see you there.

4. Hiring: We got a ton of great applications for the Underground Market manager job, so Ive been sifting through those, trying to decide who to interview. Hiring's hard, and everyone I talk to has a different take on how to do it. Ive settled on about 20 phone interviews, followed by 8 in person interviews. I'm excited about the people I'm interviewing, so probably the hardest part will be choosing who to hire.

5. Got a couple events coming up . Next Wild Kitchen dinners are the 15th, 16th, and the next market is the 23rd, so planning on getting out and doing some foraging soon. I really wanted to include wild mussels on the menu for this dinner, but at the last minute a shellfish quarantine was issued, so we're going with herring (which I think might actually be more delicious).

6. Been talking with Slow Money, an org whoes goal is to have 1 million people invest 1 percent of their income in sustainable food projects within a decade.  They are having an event in a couple months where we may incorporate an Underground Market.  It's a really interesting organization, with some great ideas about re-thinking the of a "successful" investment.  There are an amazing amount of people interested in starting sustainable food businesses, so a group that can connect them with the money they need to get going definitely has my support.

7.Thinking about shooting a cooking show, more youtube than Travel Channel, so look out for that on the site in the next couple months.

Thanks for reading, and come say hi if you see me at a dinner or the market.



On hunting

Friday I did something I've been wanting to do since I started forageSF, I went hunting....well, seeing as I didn't have a gun, or a hunting license, I suppose hunting wasnt exactly what I did. To be more exact, I went on a hike with some people who were hunting.  Just so you don't get excited, just to be let down, we didn't get anything. We actually didn't even see any in season animals until we were riding home in the car (one of my blood thirst comrades was close to jumping out of the moving car).  In a lot of ways it was hunting though. It was hunting in the way that I felt when I was in the forest. I talk a lot about the way knowledge of wild food changes the way you experience nature. That it gives you a new connection with your environment, and an awareness that a simple walk in the woods doesn't necessarily attain. Its was the same way on friday, but magnified.

We woke up at 3:30am to drive to Napa ( a friendly vineyard owner had given us permission to hunt on her land). As soon as we entered the woods, it was in a different way than I've even done so before. I could hear everything. The rustle of a  salamander crawling across our path at 10 ft pounded my eardrums.  I walked with a quietness and awareness that I've really never felt before. Even though I wasn't going to shoot anything (hunting license issues), I still felt it.  That higher awareness of "getting your eyes on" that we talk about with mushroom hunting.  A focusing of the senses, hearing and seeing with an awareness that many of us never experience.

I of course don't miss the irony that this awareness comes at the cost of killing something. That the connection to my environment is attained through death. This doesn't bother me though. We are animals, and animals survive off other life forms. Be it a carrot, an apple, or a pig. One doesn't have more or less value over the other, and the "nothing with a face" argument has always struck me as strange.

I will hunt again. I will hunt because I like to eat meat. Because I feel like hunted meat is one of the most honest meat to eat, but also to feel the awareness again. The fine tuned sense of place that comes with hunting.