The Wild Mushroom Lady

Cleaning Boletes


new pic Lin - flipped.jpgUpon returning to Canada in 2016, I had the chance to meet up with Lin Timbers – The Wild Mushroom Lady – in Bancroft, Ontario.

Lin’s wild mushroom workshops – hosted by Bedrock and Brambles in Gooderham, Ontario – provide an awesome introduction to foraging. By the end of the day, we had all of the information and confidence we needed to start foraging wild mushrooms on our own!

The workshop started with an introduction to some beginner mushrooms – such as boletes, chanterelles, and a few others. Then we moved into a few of the poisonous varieties, precautions, signs and symptoms and what to do in case of an emergency.

Cleaning Wild Mushrooms

Thanks to the lessons-learned that day and all of the wonderful follow-up and support provided on Lin’s Facebook page,  I was able to continue foraging for all sorts of wild mushrooms including a number of boletes, lobster mushrooms, honey mushrooms, oysters, birch polypore, chaga and a whole lot more!

Kira – from Bedrock and Brambles –  also introduced us to a number of edible wild flowers and weeds growing around her farm, including medicinal wild herbs and how to prepare them.

One of the highlights of the day had to be the food (of course!) Kira prepared a lovely kombucha, stinging nettle soup,  garlic scape pesto, a wild salad, desserts and of course our mushroom finds were sauteed with butter and served up individually so we could sample all of the different flavours. What a treat!

Following the workshop, I was invited to spend the weekend with Lin. Excited for the chance to cook together, I lugged out my tripod and Hungarian cookware which we used to make stir-fry for dinner. For breakfast  we  had the most delicious breakfast made up of French toast, maple flavoured bacon, sauteed chanterelles and daylily buds. Yum!

If you’d like to learn more about foraging for wild mushrooms, make sure to follow The Wild Mushroom Lady on Facebook. Or, if you’re planning a visit to the County of Haliburton sign up for a workshop with Lin and Kira!

Stay tuned for an upcoming post featuring Kira’s delicious stinging nettle soup!

St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)


My First Post!

This month, I started my first class with Algonquin College’s Social Media Certification programme. As a project for the classes, I’ve decided to create a blog about food, travel and life on the road.

I’ve always had a passion for kitchen gardening, cooking and learning about new foods. However, these general interests were brought to a whole new level when I started traveling and living overseas.

Over the years, I’ve travelled to more than 30 countries and spent time living and working in Afghanistan, Austria, Barbados, Botswana, Germany, South Korea, the U.K. and of course my native Canada. With each new voyage, my favourite way to learn about the culture, language and people was through food. It’s truly amazing how sharing a meal can not only bring people together but open your mind to a whole new way of seeing the world.

Tara and Jurgen in Bangkok

Jurgen & Tara visiting Wat Po in Bangkok, Thailand

From 2008 to 2009, I volunteered for a children’s garden based learning project with the FAO and doing research on food security and health in Barbados for my Master’s degree in 2008 – 2009. Slavery, colonialism, small island development and of course globalization and changing food systems had a tremendous impact not only on food security but also on dietary habits, health, agriculture and the way contemporary Barbadians view local foods. The lessons learned on an academic, as well as a personal level, have further developed my understanding of food as a reflection of place, time, culture and memory.

These days, I’m living in a little Austrian village called Gols which is in the province of Burgenland. Set on the border between Austria and Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia, Burgenland is the perfect place to learn about Central European heritage and old world cooking traditions.

I first came to Gols in February 2014 with my Austrian boyfriend Jurgen. Jurgen and I met in Bangkok and spent 3 fabulous months traveling around Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore before he convinced me to join him in Gols. But after 6 months in Austria, it was time to leave. I returned to Canada for a few months but now I’m back again on another tourist visa while we struggle through the immigration process (wish us luck!)

In the coming weeks, I’ll be posting a lot more about life and food in Burgenland including posts about local traditions, foods, dining out and the challenges, frustrations, exploits and eureka moments of an expat learning to shop and cook in an Austrian kitchen.

Thanks for reading, I hope to see you soon!