End of August 2012 Foraging


We are still waiting for the big tomato crop to come in, but it seems that all the tree fruit in Michigan is ripening early (if at all—let’s not talk about the cherry crop in Northern Michigan), so Chris and I thought we’d go out and check on the pawpaws. At our first stop, which happens to be in a field of a friend’s cattle, inside an electrified fence, I found a few on the ground. I picked those up and shook the trees a bit. (Remember, you cannot pick pawpaws, but can only pick them up—they don’t ripen nicely off the tree.) Meanwhile, the cattle noticed me. They must’ve been hungry, because at first they walked in my direction, and within a minute they were thundering toward me.  Chris said, “I’m glad I’m on this side of the fence,” and opened the gate for me to slip out. About a hundred thousand pounds of cattle stood there, a few yards from me, asking me where was their dinner.  I left many pawpaws behind. This is the nicest crop of pawpaws, and I am figuring that the cow manure doesn’t hurt the fertility of the trees.

ImageWe moved on down the road to a little forest not too close anyone’s house, and I hiked through briars and collected about twenty more pawpaws. The dangers there were thorns and broken glass (bottles tossed from cars.)  I exited the woods only a little bloody.

At my mom’s house we found three puffball mushrooms, small ones, out by her fuel oil tank. It’s kind of nice to have a small puffball, since a big one is such a commitment. Above are pictured the pawpaws and puffball, alongside a locally procured award-winning beer. I ate the first installment of puffball with scrambled eggs for dinner.

My niece Kellee came over today and told me that she’d been hiking in Michigan and had found both chanterelles and chicken-of-the woods mushrooms.  Not sure about the black walnuts; they’ve been falling for more than a month, but they seem hollow.  The elderberries are now ripe, so we need to get going on the 2012 elderberry wine making this coming weekend. Jamie Blake has been taking lovely artistic photos of elderberries with her smart phone.  Here are two of them.



About bonniejocampbell

I'm the author of ONCE UPON A RIVER, AMERICAN SALVAGE, MOTHERS TELL YOUR DAUGHTERS, Q ROAD, WOMEN & OTHER ANIMALS. I love Michigan, donkeys, black walnuts, blackcap raspberries, Flannery O'Connor.
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12 Responses to End of August 2012 Foraging

  1. foraging in fields and woods (to collect fodder for stomach and soul alike), is my favorite thing on earth! thanks for sharing!!

  2. dianeprokop says:

    That’s quite a puffball! Tonight I picked all the basil in my garden and made pesto. But gosh, pine nuts are $32 a pound now. That was a shock. Picked some yellow tomatoes too. Had the pesto and tomatoes over ravioli with itsy bitsy mozzarella balls. Served with a big glass of wine. Picked some Japanese long beans too. They are a foot long – amazing. Will post a pic on FB.

  3. Lovely, Bonnie. The only foraging I’ve done thus far personally has been for canine leavings in the backyard, and that has been for clean-up purposes ONLY.

    I hear it has been a banner year for Flathead cherries, though.

  4. Ally T.K. says:

    Hooray for food from the woods! I’m already eagerly awaiting morel season down here in Virginia.

  5. First visit to you new blog. Beautiful! Only enough fruit for the table from the garden here in drought stricken Missouri. Deer got my first tomatoes so I have extended the fence three feet higher just to have a enough for salad. The precious few are very tasty courtesy of the heat.

    • Hi Linda! Nice to hear from you. Thanks for visiting my blog. I need to find a way to get all my other old blogs over here… some day! My cherry tomatoes are ripening nicely, and I’m still watering the plants. Hoping for a big tomato crop soon, but we do have those deer lurking! BJC

  6. Dana Staves says:

    Puffball mushrooms! Reminds me of our lovely interview! I loved reading about your foraging adventures. 🙂

  7. Barb Modrack says:

    The paw paws look cool…what do you do with them? Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at Kerrytown! The festival looks incredible this year. I want to go to everything and am having trouble picking the sessions!

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