CAIRO, W.Va. — The 44th Annual Nature Wonder Wild Foods Weekend is scheduled at North Bend State Park Sept. 16-18. Nature Wonder Weekend began in 1968 with author and wild foods enthusiast Euell Gibbons as the guest naturalist.
Gibbons may be best remembered for a Post Grape Nuts advertisement and the phrase “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible.”
For 44 years, attendees of Nature Wonder Weekend have gathered from across the country to stalk wild foods.
Individuals with wild food or outdoor experiences influenced by Gibbons are asked to submit a written letter. Letters submitted will become part of the Mugar Memorial Library of Boston University where Gibbons’ personal papers are stored. His book, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, and others are still popular.
Gibbons died in 1975 and The National Wild Foods Association emerged as a result this event.
“They laughed about Euell Gibbons and his ‘wild food’ in the early years,” Association President Edelene Wood recalled.
Gibbons advocated use of nutritious plants often overlooked. His gourmet approach to odd or unusual food deemed “wild” has again become a popular focus for television shows such as the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Food and No Reservations.
The wild food guest expert for the 2011 Nature Wonder Weekend is John Kallas, who founded Wild Food Adventures in 1993. A botanist, nature photographer, writer, researcher and teacher, he has a doctorate in nutrition, a master’s in education and majors in biology and natural science. Kallas is one of the foremost authorities on edible wild plants of North America.
Activities will include gathering and preparing a wild dinner. A wild foods social will feature roasted root tea bags provided by Traditional Medicinals of Sebastopol, Calif. Sept. 18 includes a morning service and wild food workshop to discusses enhancements of the Euell Gibbons Nature Trail located at North Bend State Park.
Although wild foods are featured throughout the weekend, five conventional meals are part of the two-night, three-day event package. The weekend is open to the public but advance registration and reservation is required.
The cost per person sharing a room is $158. Single occupancy and day-only rates are available. Additional information, event rates and reservation forms are available at www.northbendsp.com, under “Special Events,” or by calling 304-558-2754.