Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer


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Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer
An important book for a wild food library. I wish I had Sam’s books when I was first getting started with wild foods—my life would have been easier. He has continued to produce some great work and good coverage of a wide variety of plants. At 512 pages Nature’s Garden is a great value.

One of the reasons I love Sam’s books is that we think alike, have recognized many of the same problems in the wild food literature, and have similar solutions to problems we encounter. That is a good thing. If two dedicated wild food researchers and practitioners separated by almost 2,000 miles and 20 years in age independently agree on so much, then you know that there is some reliability in what we are saying. What is scary is that I almost had the exact same title for my book (Nature’s Garden), that would have been released within a month of this one. So I am happy I changed it for that and other reasons.

Like Sam’s Forager’s Harvest book, he provides plant focused chapters with great detail on identification and the foods generated from each plant. Detail he provides is based on experience. This book could also be listed in the plant identification category for its photographs alone. The non-plant chapters provide some valuable information—wisdom, so to speak. I particularly liked his account of “One Month Eating Wild”. His experience has a lot to teach those thinking about living off of wild foods—a common fantasy of us testosterone poisoned males.

Sam covers plants that no one has really covered well before. His American lotus and black nightshade chapters were just fun for me to read, even as a seasoned professional. And I love the foods he’s generated with acorns. His acorn chapter alone could be a small book at 51 pages.

Reading The Forager’s Harvest will make your life as a forager, more successful and more fun. While no book stands alone, Sam’s Nature’s Garden is an important part of any serious forager’s wild food library. Highly recommended.

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