NATIVE PLANTS • BERRIES & FRUIT
of the land we harvest on is private and if it is not our farmland, we
have permission to harvest. We harvest responsibly and we take care to
not over harvest. If the the forest does not produce something one year,
we simply do without. We do not over harvest in years of plenty either.
We know what we need and we harvest only those quantities. When we run
out, we run out.
The Dandelion Plant is an incredible and versatile wild edible.
From flower to root, the entire plant is edible. Dandelions are
perennial. They are short plants that usually don't grow larger
than 2 feet high. They green stalks and leaves and yellow flowers.
They grow wild in the spring and all season. Leaves
have a sharp, tangy flavor similar to endive or
chicory. Good source of iron, vitamin C and A. A mild diuretic.
harvest fresh flowers for use in our teas, syrups and jam.
Sassafras is very common in Adams County, it can be a shrub or a tree.
Sassafras has three differently shaped leaves: 3 lobed, mitten-shaped,
and no lobes. The roots were once used in root beer and the leaves
are used in making filè. We harvest the young leaves in early
summer and dry them for use in several of our products.
Nuts (Carya ovata)
The Hickory trees were the first thing I noticed when we walked
the farm originally. We keep all of our Hickory information here.
There are hundreds of varieties of mushrooms that grow in
the woods at our farm. We keep all of our mushroom informationhere.
BERRIES & FRUIT
harvest responsibly and we take care to not over harvest. If the
the forest does not produce something one year, we simply do without.
Berries and fruit have seasons and we harvest in season.
Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Staghorn sumac has a spreading, open form growing
up to 15 feet tall. It has tiny green flowers in the springwhich
are later replaced by large cones of crimson berries that
remain throughout the winter. Leaves are distinctive, compound
and turn a beautiful scarlet red in the fall.
sumac is typically used to make a nice summertime lemonade
type beverage, but Native Amricans used it for a variety of
medicinal uses, mostly could be classified as general wellness.
We harvest the berries in the autumn and use it in
several of our products.
Also called wild allspice, spicebush berry, common spicebush,
northern spicebush, Benjamin bush.
berries from the spicebush were used by American patriots
during the revolutionary war when cinnamon and allspice were
not available from British held Caribbean islands. The dried
berry was used as a substitute for allspice and the bark of
the tree was used as a substitute for cinnamon. Spicebush
tea was also a welcome substitute for coffee during the American
is a small shrub that found under the pawpaw trees in the
marshy, wet areas pawpaws thrive and becomes available in
the Autumn. The leaves are oval shaped with smooth edges.
They bloom in the spring and is sometimes called early forsythia.
The fruits of spicebush are shiny red berries called drupes.
The drupes are dried before using in culinary applications.
are harvested by picking the individual berry, much like harvesting
coffee beans, as they are similar in size. When dried, they
are a deep plum to dark black in color and have a strong scent
when rubbed between your fingers.
Hips (Rosa Rugosa)
are two varieties of wild rose that produce a hip; both are members
of the Rosacea family. Rosa Canina (the common rose, dog rose,
briar rose, hip tree, itchy backs) and Rosa Rugosa (the Japanese
rose). The hips of both types are edible and can be used to make
jellies, preserves, sauces and wine. When we acquired the farm,
there was a nice grove of wild roses near the pond. We collect
the the hips from these which we have identified as Rugosa.
Rugosa has abundant leaves, arranged without a leader and in about
4-6 pairs. The flowers are large for a wild roseand their colour
is a pinkish-purple. The hips are large and squat, with a little
tuft of the base of the flower on the top. When we enlarged the
pond we had to relocate some of these around the farm, instead
of a tangle near the pond, they have become speciman plants.
contain twenty times more vitamin C than you find in oranges.
We use rosehips in some of our teas.
Olive - (Elaeagnus umbellata)
Commonly called Autumn Berry, Silver berry, oleaster or wild olive
deciduous Shrub growing to 23ft at a medium rate. It is hardy to
zone 2 and is not frost tender. Flowers in June, and the fruit ripens
from mid-August to October. During their first few years, autumnberries
have sharp thorns, but older bushes are not nearly so thorny. The
autumnberry is typically found in dense, even impenetrable stands
sometimes forming autumn-olive thickets as large as several acres.
Autumn olive was introduced into the United States in 1830 and widely
planted as an ornamental, for wildlife habitat, as windbreaks and
to restore deforested and degraded lands. It is considerd a noxious
weed tree in many states as it threatens native ecosystems by out-competing
and displacing native plant species. It aggressively spreads by
birds eating the berries and then dropping the seeds mainly along
fence lines and power lines.
berries are small and long, are red and almost completely covered
by densely silver scales. The fruits are edible and are sweet and
very tart. The juice of the flowers has been used in the treatment
of fevers. It is being investigated as a food that is capable
of reducing the incidence of cancer as it is high in lycopene. The
fruit is also a very rich source of vitamins and minerals,
especially in vitamins A, C and E.
harvest these starting at the end of August when the berries are
ripe. It takes a lot of berries to do anything with them so patience
is a must! We generally harvest these to make sauces for sale, but
sometimes bring them in half pint containers as well .
Blackberry - (Rubus species)
Wild blackberries are similar to the blackberries we cultivate,
but better. I don't have to take care of them. They just grow.
have the sharpest thorns and produce some of the nastiest scratches
on my legs as they ripen in the summer, when it's really hot, so
wearing long pants is not something I am doing when I think to harvest
wild blackberries!. They grow in thickets, which make them very
difficult to harvest, but worth it!
the spring, they have sweet-smelling, white, flowers about as wide
as a quarter. Wild blackberries need good spring rain, warm sunny
days to ripen. When we have them, we have a lot, but I only harvest
enough to make jams. I don't bring wild black berries to market
as they are much smaller than the cultivated varieties you see at
markets and it takes a lot of them to fill a pint basket!
sometimes confuse black raspberries with blackberries. A raspberry
is hollow. When you pick it, it leaves a cone-shaped receptacle
The receptacle comes off along with the blackberry, so a blackberry
is never hollow. Blackberry branches‚Äô edges are
flattened, not round like raspberries. Along with the very sharp
thorns, this makes them easy to recognize out of season.
elder (Sambucus nigra)
known as elderberry and common elder.
Elderberry is a deciduous multi-stemmed shrub which can reach 6
feet. Has large opposite compound leaves contain from 5 to 11 leaflets.
In early to mid-summer, elderberry blooms with clusters of showy
white flowers. the berry can be harvested in late August
fruits are an excellent source of anthocyanins, vitamins A and C
and a good source of calcium, iron and vitamin B6. They also contain
sterols, tannins, and essential oils and can is considered a very
healthy food. The sweet and juicy fruit can be used to make jelly,
pies, and wine. It is also eaten by many species of songbirds, including
robins, mockingbirds, and gray catbirds. Other birds such as wild
turkey, ruffed grouse, and mourning doves also eat the fruit. White-tailed
deer sometimes feed on the leaves of elderberry.
make Elderberry jam and sometimes Pontack an old English sauce that
has been around for at least 300 years.
Pawpaws (Asimina triloba)
pawpaws have an aroma that is fruity
and floral. The flavor is sweet. When ripe, the fruits are soft,
like a ripe avocado or peach. In the late stages of ripeness the
skin develops brown blotches, streaks, and freckles like a banana.
The flesh of a ripe pawpaw will be yellow, soft, and smooth. Fruit
can vary considerably in size, but normally weighs between 5 ounces
and 1 pound.
paws are very perishable. When completely ripe, paw paws will last
for only about two days at room temperature. Refrigerated at 40-45°F,
the same fruits may last a week. If the fruits are not quite ripe,
they may be refrigerated for about two weeks and then ripened at
room temperature for several days. Storing paw paws at less than
40°F is not recommended, since it often changes the flavor,
producing undesirable flavors.
best use of paw paws is for fresh eating, though they can be like
a laxative for some people this way! The easiest way to eat them
is to cut them in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. The
large seeds, scatterd throughout the fruit, are easily separated
from the flesh. Pawpaw works well in ice cream, sorbet, chiffon
pie, and mousse, and combines well with mint. Because of its flavor
resemblance to banana, it may be substituted in recipes for such
things as banana bread. It is also used in delicious cooked fruit
butter, jam and sauce.
above was adapted from the document Fruit HO-220-W: "Growing
Pawpaws Tree Fruit"
PURDUE UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE. DEPARTMENT OF HORTICULTURE.
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN. (Download
the .pdf here.)
information from the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association here[.pdf]
blossoms in the spring
to tell when it is almost time to harvest. Critters begin their
Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)
persimmon trees (Diospyros virginiana) bear crops of medium-sized,
rich-tasting fruit.Ripe American persimmon fruit typically falls
to the ground around the tree when it is time to harvest, usually
in October after a frost. When ripe, the fruits actually have a
rich, honeylike flavor and jellylike texture. Unripe fruit tends
to have a more astringent flavor.
are attractive trees with large, leathery leaves that turn beautiful
bright colors in the fall. The bright orange fruit often hangs on
the branches long after the leaves drop. The ripe fruits are delicious
when eaten fresh, but they also make good pies, breads, cookies,
Dandelion Plant is an incredible and versatile wild edible. From
flower to root, the entire plant is edible. Dandelions are perennial.
They are short plants that usually don't grow larger than 2 feet
high. They green stalks and leaves and yellow flowers. They grow
wild in the spring and all season. Leaves
have a sharp, tangy flavor similar to endive or
chicory. Good source of iron, vitamin C and A. A mild diuretic.
harvest and dry our dandelion roots for use in our teas.
Ginger (Asarum canadense)
Wild ginger grows 6 to 10 inches tall and spread 12 to 24 inches
wide and is a vigorous groundcovers that spread by rhizomes, or
underground root structures. The distinctive heart-shaped leaves
grow on 4 to 12 inch-long stems that rise in pairs from the rhizome.
Reddish brown flower with no petals appears between the two leaf
stalks at ground level; Ants pollinate the wild ginger plant.
roots can be used as a ginger substitute and leaves brewed into
a tea. Leaves and roots are used as flavoring. Roots, fresh or dried,
can be a ginger substitute. They can be candied and the syrup can
be used on desserts and ice cream. Can also be made into a beverage
to settle the tummy.
United States Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada warn
against consuming Wild Ginger as it contains trace amounts of aristolochic
acid. Significant amounts of aristolochic acid can damage kidneys.
So wild ginger eaten in moderation as a flavoring and spice it is
safe and delicious!
carefully manage our ginger in the wild on our own property. We
do not harvest large quantities, when we do harvest, it is because
we are splitting plants to relocate them or to thin an over crowded
(Yellow Root, Yellowroot, Orange-Root, Orangeroot)
a perennial herb in the buttercup family Ranunculaceae.
plant is a native of Canada and the eastern United States, the chief
States producing it being Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana,
New York and in Canada, Ontario. Most of the commercial supplies
are obtained from the Ohio Valley. It is scarce east of the Alleghany
Mountains, having become quite rare in New York State, where it
has been almost exterminated by collectors.
traditionally was used as a folk or traditional remedy for infections.
Today, goldenseal is sold to help with digestion, soothe an upset
stomach, and to kill bacteria. It is considered a natural antibiotic
and is often combined with echinacea and promoted as strengthening the
derives its value from berberine, hydrastinine and canadine contained
in its rootstock. These compounds have proven antibiotic properties
and are extracted by pharmaceutical companies for a variety of uses.
Goldenseal has been found to be effective against a number of disease-causing
organisms, including Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Chlamydia
species, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Entamoeba histolytica and others
berberine provides the bright golden yellow color to the herb. Other
compounds found in goldenseal are albumin, b-complex vitamins, biotin,
calcium, candine, chlorine, choline, chlorogenic acid, inositol,
iron, lignin, manganese, PABA, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin A,
C & E. Goldenseal is considered a bitter herb, which is said
to assist with stimulating digestion.
carefully manage our Goldenseal in the wild on our own property.
We do not harvest large quantities for export or sell the fresh
roots for any reason. The number of plants we have grows each year.
When we do harvest, it is in the fall. We dig mature roots and replant
bits of the roots so they continue to re establish in our woods.
We dry the roots and sell the dried roots at local markets only.
During Pregnancy. Goldenseal should not be given to children or