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In search of local slopes and morels + 3 tasty recipes

In search of local slopes and morels + 3 tasty recipes
As the heat of summer approaches, many more delightful plants are making an appearance in Up North. Cattails, with corn dog-shaped flowers, are ubiquitous in our swamps and coastlines. While every part of the plant is edible, the young shoots make the easiest and tastiest snack. Like the young bamboo shoots I harvested in Japan, their crunchy texture and smooth flavor work perfectly in tempura.

Like delectable desserts after a hearty meal, berries appear in our forests in early summer, and what could be more special than our wild blueberries? Their sweet and tart flavor is something I crave every time I leave Northern Michigan. Many people use them in jams, sauces or even alcoholic infusions. There are few places where wild blueberries are better celebrated than the UP – at Paradise’s annual Wild Blueberry Festival, blueberries take center stage. The small berries became a staple of the local economy during the Great Depression, and today, with the tourism attracting the festival, they are just as important.

Our region is truly special and, for better or for worse, an increasingly desirable place to live. As traffic increases and the towns and villages in our area expand, our communities need these forays into the woods. There is nothing more healing for the individual or group than food and nature. Ultimately, what represents more local pride than foraging?