The Art of Wildcrafting - Pitcher Inn
Scroll Down

The Art of Wildcrafting

When guests wonder what makes dining at The Pitcher Inn so fine, we often offer a one-word response: wildcrafting. Just as we rely on our farmer partners like Field Stone Farm for the freshest ingredients, we look to our wildcrafting partners Nova Kim and Les Hook to share the natural bounty of the Vermont woods and meadows.

Collectively Nova and Les have more than 100 years of experience in the pursuit of wild foods. Recently we checked in with them about their approach to their craft and about what wild foods guests might taste on their plates while dining at the inn.

Tell us about wildcrafting, how long and why you do it.

Wildcrafting is learning to accept what wild plants are offered for the gifts that they are and helping to preserve them as well as their habitat. Wildcrafting is when you walk through a landscape, familiar with the timing and seasons of those other beings around you, knowing that when you leave, things will be better for your having been there and better for you as well.

We have been wildcrating, collectively, for over a hundred years between the two of us. The advantage of old age.

What inspires you?

The necessity of educating, understanding and preserving all the wild plants, both native and introduced.

What’s the range of plants and other wild organics you gather?

Blossoms, berries, bulbs, evergreen tips, greens, herbs, potherbs, roots, and gourmet mushrooms.

What are you gathering now?

Today we will be delivering Wild Watercress, Elderblow Blossoms, Wintergreen Leaves, Sweetfern tips, Concolor and Spruce fir tips, and Berkeley’s Polypore (a mushroom).

We don’t want you to give up your secrets, but generally where do your wild organics come from? Meadow ? Woods?

Since we collect such a wide range of plants and mushrooms, our collection areas are defined by the season and weather…no one specific habitat. Many of these same areas/beds have been producing for 20-plus years due to careful attention and not over harvesting. When we do lose an area, it is often due to clearcutting.

Offer some advice on how inn guests should approach unfamiliar ingredients.

As with anything new, start with small amounts.

Have you enjoyed a meal prepared by Chef Jacob and his team including ingredients you have sourced?

Not yet.