The Wild Food Movement Moves into the Commercial Arena (and hits snags)

So here’s an interesting trend that has started to take root in the United States: becoming foragers for food. No, we’re not talking about the homeless diving into your dumpster to look for the leftover food you threw away at the end of the working day. We’re talking instead about people who forage for food in the forest, collect the food and eat it. In other words, they take a bounty from Mother Nature’s wild food sources and enjoy eating stuff that is truly organic and fresh.

Selling Free Food

While the trend of gathering food in the wild has gone on for some time, a new phenomenon is potentially of more interest to the nation’s restaurateurs – people who go out and gather this food are now trying to turn it into a business and actually sell the foods they find, both to consumers and to restaurant owners.

Restaurateurs Get Truly Wild, Fresh Food

The result has been an interesting mix. On the one hand, you have truly organic produce, which was grown wild and which has never seen an artificial growth stimulus of any kind, which many restaurateurs prefer because it gives their foods a more natural flavor and allows them to claim a connection to the environment that others can only dream of.

The Law Has Its Say on the Subject

However, the foraging movement has also led to a backlash from government agencies who say that first of all, the foragers are violating state and federal laws when they gather food in forests and parks owned by state and federal park services and second of all, they may be putting the public’s health in danger by offering food which may not really be all that safe to consume.

Bottom line, as with many things today, we’re offering the advice of caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Those wild mushrooms may look tempting, but if they poison your diners, you’ll regret having bought them.

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