A Story of Spring Wild Edibles
On September 27th, 1777 General Howe and the British took Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Utilizing a brilliant strategy of attacking Washington’s army head on with only half of his force. Meanwhile the rest of his men flanked Washington’s men and although the Americans fled to the high ground d they still suffered defeat. After the battle Washington and his men fled to Chester a town just minutes from my own hometown of Marcus Hook.
The battle took place on the Brandywine River in Chadds Ford which is home to one of my very favorite places to fish. Whenever I return home and the weather is right I return to this spot. It’s not for the great history, though that would sound very noble, it’s for the great smallmouth bass fishing. You see I learned to fish and wade and stalk fish on this river. I fell in love with the fly rod on the Brandywine. My father and I would walk the stream every weekend in the summer when the trout fishing had dried up at Chester Creek.
I have walked those emerald creek banks since I was probably 7 years old. So it came to my utmost surprise when I headed down that familiar hill and walked out towards water breaking rocks I know better than I know most people that I was surrounded by food.
It’s wild when two forms or training intersect in life. Everywhere I looked there were wild edibles. Delicious variety and nutrient dense Springtime options.
The first bank I approached was laced with garlic mustard. A beautiful tall plant with white flowers that is so delicious I ate some right there.
Next I ran into Stinging Nettle which is touted for its dense nutritional content
I didn’t expect to see the tart, rhubarb like Japanese knotted.
In a pasture moving from one spot to the next I ran into curly dock
and field garlic
finally while climbing the hill for the day I realized I was surrounded by the may apple. This edible puts off a small fruit that, in my opinion, is not particularly delicious but certainly edible.
I wound up catching a few small bluegills before heading home and yet again leaving history behind me. I couldn’t help but wonder if Washington’s defeated party of men, on their long trek back to Chester, chewed on a mouthful of garlic mustard or curly dock. Of course I am sure to return but because of my continuous evolution this landscape I thought I knew so well has become something more.
GET OUT IN THE WOODS!