5 American Foraging Adventures
Explore the top foraging spots across the country, from Asheville to San Francisco, in the 2016 Ford Flex.
By Ernest Myers
My Ford recently took the 2016 Ford Flex on a foraging expedition in the Oregon countryside with famed fungi expert Dr. Charles Lefevre in search of world-class truffles. Foraging—the art of gathering food from the land—has rapidly gained popularity in recent years, as more and more people seek a natural way to gather, prepare and consume food.
Properly trained, foragers can find almost any green space a potential boon, so a satisfying meal may be as close as your backyard. But if you are looking to expand your foraging horizons and learn from some of the best foragers in the country, jump into the Ford Flex and get ready to explore nature’s grocery.
New York City
The big city might be the last place you’d expect to find an abundance of natural, edible plants. But look beyond the skyscrapers and subway and you’ll find wild blackberries, ramps, dandelions and garlic mustard. Urban foraging is generally frowned upon in city parks (that means hands off Central Park), so use the available Active Park Assist on the Flex to fit into one of those elusive NYC parking spots and take a walk around the city streets.
Keep an eye out for mugwort, an edible bitter plant of Asian origin, peeking through the cracks of the sidewalk or nestled into the sides of buildings. Just be careful in areas where plants may have collected harmful dust from nearby construction.
Waubun is home to the yearly Wild Food Summit, a weekend-long celebration of all things foraging. Participants apply months ahead of time and come from across the country to learn from guides skilled in the art of identifying, harvesting and preparing edible wild plants.
Take advantage of the available PowerFold® third-row seating in the Flex and make plenty of room for camping and cooking gear. Pay close attention as you learn how to make delicious, satisfying meals of wild mushrooms, rice, leeks, onions and nettles.
Foraging isn’t limited to land lovers. The shores of San Francisco provide an array of saltwater treats that will redefine the meaning of a “day at the beach.” Tackle the city’s notoriously hilly streets with Flex and its available Intelligent All-Wheel-Drive System, which continuously monitors wheel speed, throttle position and steering angle to determine the vehicle’s conditions and the driver’s intent.
Head down to the Pacific coastline and sign up for a Sea Forager tour, where you’ll learn from expert coastal foragers about how to “poke” for eels, capture rock crabs and gather sea urchin, mussels and edible mollusks to create the most unusual seafood buffet you’ve ever experienced.
Asheville, North Carolina
The southern Appalachian Mountains’ unique climate provides one of the richest bounties of forageable food in North America. As you pilot the Flex through North Carolina, you’ll be exposed to views like never before, thanks to the available Multi-Panel Vista Roof®, which features four skylights covering all three rows of seats.
Make a stop in Asheville, where, along with its historic beauty and thriving art scene, you’ll find a well-known forager’s paradise. Book a wild-food adventure with No Taste Like Home, a 20-year-old, internationally celebrated wild-food foraging tour company, and set off into the forest in search of more than two dozen varieties of edible mushrooms and plants. Later, enjoy a meal prepared by expert local chefs who will take your day’s bounty and turn it into a culinary experience to remember.
Boyne City, Michigan
The morel mushroom is one of the most prized treasures among foragers. With a unique honeycomb appearance and a delicious flavor, the morel is notoriously difficult to farm, and thus foraging is your best bet to snag a taste of the celebrated fungi.
Morels have been found in all 50 states but the highest concentration of them is in the Midwest, especially Michigan. Plan a morel-hunting road trip and you and your crew will ride in comfort thanks to the Flex and its best-in-class* second- and third-row legroom on your way to Boyne City, Mich., home to the yearly National Morel Mushroom Festival, where thousands gather to pick, cook and even sing the praises of the mighty morel.