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Cheesy and Wild

By | News | No Comments

We are delighted to announce that you can now march down to Sobeys and Safeway delis and pick yourselves up a scrumptious and carefully crafted cheese containing Untamed Feast wild mushrooms.

Bothwell Cheese out of Manitoba approached a few years ago (good cheese takes time) looking for cool wild ingredients to add to their already varied lineup of infused cheeses. We said,’ heck yah, we have cool wild ingredients,’ and they began concocting. The thing about Bothwell is that they do things right. They use 100% Canadian milk, free of anitbiotics or hormones, and follow the traditions and strict protocols of their cheese masters. And when you are making as much cheese as they are, that’s pretty impressive.  The other thing that we can tell you about Bothwell is that you have to be an extremely awesome person to work there. From the owner, to the blogger, to the cheese makers, they all care about what they’re making and the people they are making it with.

So fast forward through the smooth sailing partnering and processes and the result is an Extra old cheddar containing our Alder Smoked Chanterelles. The first, (if you like it as much as we do), of many wild cheeses to come .



New Product Sea Veggie Salt

By | EAT | No Comments

New to the Untamed Feast line up is Sea Veggie Salt,  an extremely simple to use and ridiculously healthy alternative to table salt. Made of 100% raw, wild sea vegetables sustainably harvested off the coast of Haida Gwaii, BC, Canada. Our blend of Wakame, Kombu, and Giant Kelp is dried with cold air (to maintain raw food status thereby optimizing health benefits) and then ground up into a fine, salt-like consistency. It is an excellent source of iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, Vitamin A and C… we could go on but those are the biggies. Sea Veggie salt is milder than sea salt, smells fresh like the ocean, and can be sprinkled onto pretty much anything. Add a dash to eggs, avocados, tomatoes, whole grains, smoothies, salads and more for an easy way to eat your minerals.

Chanterelles are in!

By | News | No Comments

We are well into the chanterelles harvest season, and while we still have some picking to do,  some of our chanterelles are bathing in a wine barrel, some have been sent to Bothwell Cheese for a delicious new, aged cheddar (not new-aged 🙂 more info on that in the coming months), and we just made a whack of the Smoked Chanterelle Risotto with Sundried Tomatoes. This is the product formerly called Chanterelle Arroz, for those of you that didn’t catch the transition. Same wonderful stuff on the inside, just different packaging and a new name. It’s got big bold flavour: smokey, tangy, with a bit of heat. It goes great with all meat, especially sausage. That means that all 5 wild mushroom sides in the Ready to Feast pack are ready to be feasted on. Fine fall fare, quick to prepare!  A small, first  batch of the Alder Smoked Wine Cask Aged Chanterelles are ready…get them while you can. The remainder of this season’s chanterelle harvest will be used in the RUB, which I know many of you missing madly. Stay tuned.

Out of Chanterelles! – Until Next She Provides

By | News | No Comments

If you’ve seen us at a farmer’s market, food event, or peeked at our on-line store lately you may have noticed that we are out of Chanterelles. There are still some beauties folded into our forest blend, but our oh so popular RUB (which have a chanterelle foundation), our alder-smoked & wine cask-aged chanterelles (universally one of a kind), and our personal favourite, the smoked chanterelle risotto (formerly called chanterelle arroz) are all SOLD OUT.

Luckily, chanterelle season is just around the corner and the delay shant be too long dear customers. Haida Gwaii, Vancouver Island, other coastal chanterelle havens, and Saskatchewan are all brimming with chanterelle potential. To see the bottom of an empty barrel though reminds us that even if one more or less dedicates their life to wild harvesting, so much about chanterelles any other precious wild foods is out of our hands and in Mother Nature’s.  If we were in the chocolate business, we would just buy more cacao right now from a cacao grower. Instead, we will wait with anticipation until the sun rises a little later in the day, the leaves catch a touch of yellow, and the mossey coniferous trees are ready to send their sap towards their roots, hopefully encouraging Catharellus Cibarius to show it’s golden self.
And while we wait, we are that much more aware and appreciative of the seasons and of mother nature’s ‘unreplicability’ and unfathomably deep harmony.

Comedic Cooking: Simple Wild Mushroom Sauté

By | Recipe | No Comments

Hello readers,

Please assign thyself to one of the following 4 groups:

  1. I love mushrooms, I’ll eat them on just about anything.
  2. I’m not a ‘mushroom person’. Never have been. Never will be.
  3. I like mushrooms, I just don’t really know what to do with them.
  4. I’m on the fence, depends on the rest of meal I guess.

Now, I’ve got good news and plenty more goods news. Cooking with wild mushrooms is so easy you can “practically do it with your hands tied behind your back.” Pay attention group 3. In this video you can watch Eric cook wild mushrooms with his hands actually tied behind his back. He will extoll the virtues and versatility of wild mushrooms, giving group 1, mush inspiration for your next wild mushroom meal. Group 2, if not for your wild mushroom education, just watch the clip for comic relief (who knows after a good laugh, maybe you’ll be more open to the idea)? And group 4.., may we knock you off your perch, and launch you into the vortex of mushroom adoration.
We had a lot of fun making this video. We wish you a lot of fun adding a little wild to your plate.

VIDEO : Simple WIld Mushroom Saute from Untamed Feast.

To Be or Not To Be a Mushroom Picker – That is an easily answered question

By | Harvesting | No Comments

Nearly everyday at Untamed Feast, we get an email from someone who wants a job harvesting mushrooms. Most of the applicants list a love hiking, an appreciation for the outdoors, a commitment to natural food, a desire for adventure, and so on.

All of these inclinations are helpful but they are by no means sufficient. Essentials are more along the lines of independence, backcountry smarts, an ability to get and stay dirty, an acceptance of all kinds of biting insects, and flexible life circumstances. In short, to be a successful mushroom harvester you need to not only embrace your wild side but nurture and develop it.

Right Place. Right Time.

Veteran commercial mushroom harvesters know the importance of being at the right place, which is a skill set all on its own, at the right time, which is preferably shortly before the first mushrooms appear, for long enough, which means having the endurance to stick it out for as long as the season requires.

Being at the right place is a highly educated guess based on years of experience and knowledge of forestry, topography, and cartography. Choosing the right place begins months before the season does. It’s what separates the pros from the dabblers. No matter where your research leads you to place your bets though, Mother Nature’s cards may reveal a heat flush, a full frost, or a few straight weeks of empty buckets that will make you want to fold your cards and run.

There’s a level of commitment and patience, or perhaps it’s stubbornness, required to see the season through with all of its ups and downs, bad weather days, fruitless hikes, and speculations of greener pastures. This is why most mushroom harvesters are not 9-5’ers. They’re more likely to be entrepreneurs, outdoorsmen/women, off-the landers, retirees, hippies, treeplanters and other eccentrics. The cardinal rule is to make the time, when the time comes, to be there searching and waiting.

What’s the Allure?

Why are so many people infatuated with the possibility of being on Untamed Feasts’s crew? The romance starts with a heck of a good road trip. Includes sleeping outside. Dreaming under the stars and Northern Lights. Breathing fresh air all day and night. Waking up when you want to. Waking up to the sounds of birds or complete quiet. Matching your internal rhythms to your surroundings. Working as hard as you want to. Walking as far as you are able and then walking so much further than you think you are able. Spotting your first mushroom of the season…(say thanks or give it a kiss). Spotting your first mushroom of the day…(it never gets old and makes you feel like a kid on an Easter Egg hunt). Being reminded with every step that Nature thrives. Bathing in lakes, rivers, and falls. Watching the light through the trees change as the day rolls on. Taking a break whenever you feel like it. Seeing your day’s work stacked up like a chest full of treasure. Discovering you can lift more for much longer than you’d ever considered. Getting lost and then getting yourself unlost. Taking your boots off at the end of the day. That pleasantly unpleasant lactic acid ache in all the major muscle groups. Having a beer with your friends at the end of the day. Eating food from the campfire…(food always tastes better around a campfire doesn’t it?) Seeing wildlife – bison, bears, and birds oh my! (We’ve even seen wolves). Cameraderie like none other. Sharing the day’s triumphs and duds. Trading tips and secrets. Knowing that even if you are picking alone someone’s got your back. And let’s not forget the cash. When the picking and the weather is good, and there’s cash in your hand to reward your hard work, it seems obvious that this is the best job ever.

We Were the Wild

Above, or more aptly, beneath it all though, the deepest allure to harvesting wild mushrooms and any other wild food is that it satisfies a primal inclination to live directly off the land and to be interlocked with the natural world. It wasn’t that long ago, and for millennia until then, that we all hunted and gathered things in the wild. We were not just in the wild; we were the wild. It’s part of our DNA.

Most of us these days are so far removed from this type of activity that we might not even notice that we are missing anything. Until a breath of mountain air, a dip in the rolling river, or the taste of a wild berry astounds us and reminds us that we are Nature. So if you are appeased by a dip into that world for an afternoon or weekend, ‘not to be’, is your answer. But if you are seemingly pulled away from urbanity toward remoteness as predictably as the spring buds bloom, maybe it’s time to start nurturing your wild side.

What is a Wild Mushroom?

By | Wild Food | No Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot all Wild Mushrooms are Wild

Strange right? So many of the ‘wild’ mushrooms on the market and on restaurant menus misuse the term wild. Prime examples are oyster, shitaki, and portabello. These are mushrooms that were once collected in their natural environment but are now successfully farmed on a grand scale and have somehow retained their sexy adjective. It’s a widespread nomenclature error that bypasses most consumers. Let’s clear that up today: a wild mushroom comes from the wild. Clearer yet: a wild mushroom is not farmed or grown.

The ‘not so wild’ wild mushrooms that are in your grocery store or in your mushroom soup are the species that grow easily on dead, decaying matter. Pretty cool that some smarty pants came along and figured this out!  Now there are companies who grow huge, continual crops of these products, usually by inoculating hardwood logs with mushroom spore. By a similar method, almost anyone can grow mushrooms in their closet  these days by ordering a kit on-line. This is not a bad thing. Even your plane old button mushrooms can have lots of health benefits and can be really tasty. Butt, ‘wild’ vs ‘not wild’ is more than a matter of origin.

Does Wild Salmon come from a Farm?

Let’s juxtapose the mushroom to Canada’s most celebrated fish. Is it fair to label and sell farmed salmon as wild salmon? Can you taste and see the difference between the two? Are you willing to pay more one? Do you consider the history of the fillet when deciding whether to put it in your cart? Do you have higher regard for the restaurant who states the distinction?

Another maybe slightly less complex comparison is the berry. Have you ever had the pleasure of eating a wild strawberry? That tiny, brilliant red berry is bursting with flavour. It even has different stages of flavour. It’s as though your whole body recognizes its nutritional contribution while it’s still in your mouth. Wild strawberries are hard to get though, especially for urban dwellers, because they are so seasonal and location specific. So, we buy tetra-packed, mass produced, jumbo, pinkish, imported strawberries on occasion because we love strawberries and we hope that they are going to be as good as we know strawberries can be. Alas, we are left with a muted, mediocre substitute for true strawberry potential.

Nature Does it Best

Inspired by quality, flavour, nutrition, environmental impact, and logic,  Wild is Untamed Feast’s modus operandi. The logic is that Nature does it best.

Every mushroom that Untamed Feast harvests and distributes is collected from the wild, that is, in remote wilderness areas, without the use of irrigation, fertilization, innoculation, etc.  The vast majority of the species we collect are the fruiting bodies of an underground organism called mycelium that has such an intricate relationship with live trees that it has not been successfully replicated by man. The prime examples here are morels, porcini, chanterelles, matsutaki, hedgehog, etc. So not only are our mushrooms not farmed, they can’t be. Biologists and mycologists have tried and failed to grow these kinds of mushrooms and the day one of them succeeds is the day that that the world gains its next millionaire smarty pants.

Like any tamed vs untamed food*, you will find more flavour and more nutrition in every bite of a wild mushroom compared to its cultivated counterpart. There is a deep, nourishing quality to wild mushrooms that you don’t get from conventional store bought ones.  A series of microscopic events must unfold, in soils of a particular composition, alongside certain species of trees of the right maturity, at an ideal elevation, exposure, and latitude, in accordance with the seasons…wheew…in order to set forth the treasure of a wild mushroom. There are few things more satisfying than hiking in Nature and being reminded of THAT!

Hello Readers

By | News | No Comments

You may have noticed that we’ve made some changes over the last while, thanks to our talented new tech guy Nick. The store is easier to navigate, information is easier to find, and the whole thing looks and works a lot better.

We’ve also hopped on the blog-wagon; with good reason. So many of our customers, harvest followers, and Dragon’s Den fans have asked questions that we usually reply to by phone or e-mail. Now we have a space where we can respond to queries and comments in a more public way.

There’s so much to say about wild food, the adventures of the harvest, and the process of creating wild food products and getting them to you. May you find our posts informative and enjoyable.

Got a question ? Send it our way. We’ll get do our best to get you and ya’ll the answer.