Finding A Way Towards Ethical & Sustainable Wildcrafting: Community Supported Foraging

One of the greatest concerns about the growth of the wild food movement is that hordes of foragers will descend on the wilds, trampling delicate ecosystems while over harvesting native plants etc. etc. And while I hate to say it, I completely agree. So for this first blog post of the new year, I want […]

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Help Gather Serve You Better!

I want to start by saying THANK-YOU for every single message of support and enthusiasm you leave on Gather’s blog and social media pages. Five years ago Gather began with a sole (soul) mission – to celebrate the old ways of honouring and living in harmony with the earth. And today I’m filled with such joy, gratitude and hope […]

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Pour some sugar on me: A candied flower tutorial

I’m racking my brain, but I actually cannot think of any confection more fanciful than candied flowers. Blossoms covered in sparkly sugar make everything better. For example: Place an expertly frosted cake on the table and you’ll hear, “What a perfectly lovely cake”.  Sprinkle a few candied violets on top and you’ll get, “This cake is so […]

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Wild Green Greek Pies: Savoury Spring!

Picture a patch of grass three feet by three feet beneath you. Then imagine you are a Greek Granny with basket in hand, who is foraging for the over eighty kinds of wild greens that appear in the hillsides and fields each spring. You fill your basket with the young leaves of dandelions, dock, mallow, […]

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On the Good Chip Urtica Dioica: A Nettle Crisp Recipe

Yup, just like the title says. Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica), the darling of wild spring greens, make really great, really healthy and really free (minus labour. yours, lots of it) crisp/chips! The nettles came early to Vancouver Island this year, and we’ve been enjoying the bounty and spring sting that comes with it. A stimulated circulation is […]

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Plum Blossom Chocolate Truffles: A Taste of Heaven

What combines the delicate, yet heady scent of the first spring blossoms with creamy, rich chocolate? Why Plum Blossom Truffles of course! And they are so super easy to make, you won’t regret gifting your palate with this floral-infused chocolate sensation for one instant, I promise! One of Victoria’s most beloved harbingers of spring, the […]

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Wild Violet Ardor: Whipped Honey Butter

“Don’t let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine.” Anthony Trollope For those in the mood for amour, there is a lovely little woodland aphrodisiac blooming right now – the violet. Today we associate this demure little beauty with primness and old lady perfumes – but it has not always been so. In […]

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Imbolc & The Rites of Women: The Midwinter Festival of Lights

Across the world, for thousands of years, our ancestors celebrated the turn of the seasons through sacred feasts and plenty of magic.  Marking the astrological alignments of the sun and moon, theses activities had one central purpose – to harmonize human activity with the great cycles and forces of nature, thereby ensuring fertility, abundance and […]

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Doe, A Deer, A Female Reindeer: The Spirit of Mother Christmas

Oh wondrous headed doe… Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun…” Hungarian Christmas Folk Song Long before Santa charioted his flying steeds across our mythical skies, it was the female reindeer who drew the sleigh of the sun goddess at winter solstice. It was when we “Christianized” the pagan traditions of winter, […]

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Spicy & Sweet Hawthorn Ketchup: Reviving a Traditional Recipe

Thick and robustly tangy, my all-time favourite condiment is good old fashioned “Haws Ketchup”. Made from the bright crimson berries of the Hawthorn tree (which you can find a stone’s throw away from wherever you stand in Victoria) it compliments roasted meats, scrambled eggs and a big basket of steaming homemade fries equally. A mainstay […]

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Stewards or Profiteers: Selling The Wild

I’ve been foraging for over a decade now, but lately, I’ve noticed a growing number of newly enthused “wildcrafting” entrepreneurs selling their wares. So imagine my surprise when a local wildcrafter recently insinuated that his enlightened approach to wildcrafting and stewardship of the land was opposed to the forager’s clear-cutting ways and take, take, take […]

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Queen of The May: Enchanting Hawthorn Blossom Cordial

“May, queen of blossoms, and fulfilling flowers,  what pretty music Shall we charm the hours? Wilt thou have pipe and reed, Blown in the open mead? Or to the lute give heed, in the green bowers.”— Lord Edward Thurlow Sacred to fairies, witches, and the goddesses of old, no tree is more central to “Going a […]

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The Why of Spring Nettle Pie

I am standing on the edge of a forest, my gumboots wedged in mud, the sun dappling the ground before me. There, standing in a warm mist, is the object of my foraging quest—spring nettles. But I’m not here because nettles currently grace the Instagram pages of every hipster from Portland to Copenhagen. Nor because […]

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Cranberry & Peppermint Honey Cake: Hail To The Mothers!

This dense, rustic fruit cake is inspired by a long forgotten baking tradition-the offering of honey cakes to the goddesses of old. For hundreds of years across North Western Europe, the night we now know as Christmas Eve, was once called Mothers Night. The Mothers or Matrones were revered female deities and from the 1st […]

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Citrusy Spruce Glazed Shortbread: Flavour Of The Forest

This recipe was inspired by an incredibly lovely and vigourous Sitka Spruce tree that lives in a woodland area near my neighborhood. Standing out amongst the other conifers, her bluish-white branches positively sparkle on dreary rainy days. At first I was sure she was a Blue or White Spruce, but on closer look, I now […]

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Aromatic & Spicy Juniper Berry Sugar Stars

Juniper Berry is simply divine. Aromatic and perfumey, it is just the perfect spice for a buttery cookie. Growing on Vancouver Island, and all over the world, common junipers gorgeous blue-black berries (actually tiny cones) are best known as the taste ingredient of gin. For those who have never encountered the juniper berry, imagine the […]

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Remembering The Deer Mother Of Winter Solstice

It’s the season when we tell children the tales of Santa and his flying reindeer. But this year why not tell the story of the sacred “Deer Mother” of old? Taking flight from the darkest, longest night of the year, it was she who brought the life-giving light of the sun back to the land, […]

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Ecofeminism & Ancestral Skills & The Reclamation of Food Magic

Okay, so let’s start by going back to the very beginning – women and wild food. Because once upon a time all food was wild – and it was the women who gathered it. And from harvest to preparation to consumption, no aspect of food production was left untouched by magical ritual. Many ecofeminists see […]

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Deeply Nourishing Seasonal Medicine: Delectable Dandelion Root Treats!

Tis the season for harvesting that super nutritious and medicinal powerhouse—dandelion root! According to herbalist Susun Weed, dandelion roots are best harvested in late fall when they are sweetest and highest in medicinal potency. And while they’re mostly used in tinctures and teas for their many amazing health benefits, my favourite seasonal way to enjoy […]

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The Magic of Conifers: A Video

As cold and flu season begins to loom, it’s time to call on the protective and healing powers of conifers. Towering over the forest canopy, their top branches are always nourished by the sun but their roots extend deeply into the earth. And when winter makes demands on our reserves of energy, endurance and warmth, […]

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Priestesses Of The Dead: A Halloween Vigil

Halloween takes its roots in ancient festivals and feasts honouring the dead. Which makes it a perfect time to remember the Haliorunna, the oracular priestesses of the “underworld mysteries” whose rites of divination and ancestor veneration were demonized and extinguished by the Church. It was Max Dashu’s wonderful book Witches and Pagans Women in European […]

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Foraging & Cooking with Coastal Mugwort: A Salt, A Honey & Vinegar

Every year I fall for a particular plant and start to use it in practically everything. This year I’ve been bewitched by the deep smoky, earthy and sagey flavour of Suksdorf sagewort or coastal mugwort. Of all the mugworts I know, our native suksdorf sagewort has to be one of the most deliciously aromatic -and […]

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Rowan Berry Kitchen Witchery: Two Recipes

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been experimenting with some kitchen witch cuisine for our upcoming Hallowe’en Night of Herbal Magick with herbalist Betty Norton. We’re going to be concocting some magical cookery with the sacred plants and herbs of Samhain, but most especially the scarlet bright berries of Rowan or Mountain Ash – long […]

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“Soul Cakes” for an Old-Fashioned All Hallows Eve

Below is the link to a deliciously scary video that brings you some spoooky lore behind – Soul Cakes! Given out for hundreds of years, they were the original “treats” baked at Hallowtide to feed the dead, honour the ancestors and ward off the ghouls that went bump in the night!

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Double Chocolate Curly Dock Seed Cake: A Healthy, Decadent Delight!

I adore chocolate cake and spend a great deal of time drooling over Pinterest recipes. But lately, a lot of moody luscious cakes made with “healthy” buckwheat have been especially catching my eye.  And because those tall reddish-brown spires of curly dock seeds growing in fields, yards and lanes are from the buckwheat family – I put two […]

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Wildcrafted “Boursin”: A Tangy, Garlicky, Yogurt Cheese

I just love this cheese! Brimming with vitalizing nutrients and gut healthy probiotics, this beautiful “Boursin” yogurt cheese is not only a show stopper at parties, it’s absolutely delicious, easy to make, inexpensive, and really, really good for you. You can make creamy spreadable version (like cream cheese) which is what I’ve pictured here or […]

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Wild Soda for the Autumn Equinox

The leaves are falling and the last of the summer fruits are hanging heavy. The autumn equinox is fast approaching. This is my favourite time of year. More than spring, this is when I feel energized. This turning inward time lifts my spirits and my thoughts grow clearer.

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Wild Green Custard & Chanterelle Tart

It may still be as hot as blazes out there but soon cooler weather and increasing rain will yield a nutrient-rich bounty of returning greens and mushrooms! This creamy & cheesy dish will help you take delicious advantage of both, plus it’s so packed with vitamins, minerals, and critical nutrients, it could be considered a veritable […]

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