Wild foods are increasingly popular; chefs are incorporating wild ingredients into their restaurant meals and foraging guides are proliferating. The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is once again offering the course “Wildcrafting: Food & Beverages From the Natural World” with noted author and instructor Pascal Baudar for those interested in exploring their own local landscapes as well as digging deep into innovative techniques for food preservation and “culinary alchemy.”
This five-day course, held June 5–9, 2017, will have students bypassing both the grocery store and the farm as they head to the woods and other wild spaces to source the primary ingredients for a range of food and drinks. Students will explore the unique flavors of both field and forest as they make wild breads, brines, hot sauces, condiments, confections, infused salts, lightly fermented beverages, and wild beers.
Guided by Baudar, students will learn to identify edible plants, harvest them ethically, prepare them using time-honored techniques, and experience lost flavors that would have been familiar to our ancestors.
Baudar says, “It’s only in our current ‘modern’ times that foraging is seen as a novelty or a ‘trendy’ thing to do. It’s really part of being human: we are surrounded by countless edible plants and flavors. People are hesitant to harvest them because they’ve lost that connection to nature and also the knowledge of elders hasn’t been passed on.”
Baudar is a professional forager, wild food instructor, and a self-styled “culinary alchemist” based in Los Angeles. He is the author of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir (Chelsea Green Publishing). Pascal’s locally sourced wild ingredients and unique preserves have made their way into the kitchens of star chefs such as Ludo Lefebvre, Josiah Citrin, Ari Taymor, Michael Voltaggio, Chris Jacobson, and Niki Nakayama. Over the years, he has introduced thousands of home cooks, local chefs, and others to the flavors offered by the wild terroir of southern California. He has served as a wild food consultant for several TV shows including “MasterChef” and “Top Chef Duels.” He has been featured in numerous TV shows and publications, including Time magazine, the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, and the New York Times. In 2014, he was named one of the 25 most influential tastemakers in L.A. by Los Angeles magazine.
The class is being offered at Sterling College as part of the School of the New American Farmstead, its continuing education program that provides a variety of classes and workshops for aspiring agrarians, artisan food enthusiasts, and environmental stewards. These hands-on short courses in small-scale food production and sustainable farming offer one-on-one mentorship, inspiration, skills, and new perspectives that will feed the body, the mind, and the spirit.
This is the second year of the visionary School of the New American Farmstead, the creation of President Matthew Derr. Under President Derr’s leadership, the College has launched the Rian Fried Center for Sustainable Agriculture & Food Systems; made substantial progress on renewable energy; transformed its agricultural facilities; and set records for enrollment and fundraising.
The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College is generously underwritten by two great Vermont businesses: Chelsea Green Publishing, the preeminent publisher of books on the politics and practice of sustainable living, and Vermont Creamery, an award winning creamery offering fresh and aged goat cheeses, cultured butter, and créme fraîche that combine the European tradition of cheesemaking with Vermont’s terroir. Both Chelsea Green and Vermont Creamery are partner businesses that share a deep commitment to the environmental stewardship mission of Sterling College.
Online registration is now open, but spaces are limited. Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible. Academic credit is available for all courses. For more information this course and to register, visit www.sterlingcollege.edu/wildcrafting.