The past few weeks Austin has been our family forager. It seems every time he comes out of the woods, he has a treat – turkeys, ramps and morels, to be exact. Ramps are a wild onion sometimes called a spring tonic. They are just what the doctor ordered after a long cold winter. Tender green leaves shooting up from the forest floor. Now we are scanning old fence rows for my favorite, wild asparagus. Usually, not much makes it home because we eat so much as we are picking. Fresh asparagus is like fresh berries – pick one, eat two, pick one, eat two.
Morels offer a wonderful earthy taste that are even more special because they are so hard to come by. They are only here a short while, so we get them while we can. Austin has brought huge bagfuls home after turkey hunting. It led me to think about our farm in a new way. I know we grow lots of food here – beef, pork, eggs and plenty of vegetables. But, what about the other things? What about the things that we can’t legally sell because they are “wild”? The turkeys with the yellow fat and richer flavor. The venison with the lean dark meat that you only find in wild game. Doves signal the beginning of fall – tender breasts wrapped in rosemary and bacon is hard to beat. Our kids have grown up eating quail and rabbit without a second thought. Summer brings fresh bluegill and small mouth bass from our farm ponds, caught equally by Austin and the kids. And that huge snapping turtle that was roaming across our yard last week? That also became someone’s dinner – turtle soup. I’ve heard it’s great with morels.