John Kallas is one of North America’s best known, respected and knowledgeable foragers. Portland woman Pamela Melcher gave an immeasurable amount of help setting up my tour of Oregon and Washington. While we were discussing setting up a talk in Portland, she wrote “I also recommend that you meet with John Kallas, he lives in Portland”.
I first heard of John through the EdibleWild email group run by Melana Hiatt, fifteen years ago, in May 2000. He was advertising for the September 2000 Wild Food Weekend Workshop in Cairo, West Virginia, where “Dr. Kallas and other wild food instructors would conduct wild food workshops at this 3-Day National Wild Foods Conference and Retreat. It’s a weekend full of workshops, activities, and celebration of edible wild plants and other foragables.” Soon after that Kallas is part of a discussion on the dangers of oxalic acid, a subject that there is an excellent and thorough analysis of in his book Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate from 2010, a book that everyone interested in foraging should own!. (see http://tinyurl.com/joz4cmg )
Pamela also told me that Kallas was running a class Wild Foods of Native Americans from his home on Sunday 1st September in the middle of my stay in the US. Getting to take part in a class with one of my favourite North American foraging authors on a fascinating subject and the whole of my west coast visit was arranged to make sure I would be in Portland for John’s class!
Well, it was a great class, I learned masses and John invited us back the next day for a more informal chat and a tour of his wild edible garden with barbecue lunch prepared by Pamela’s partner David who is an excellent cook…and he’d caught the 3 species of wild salmon he prepared!! To cap it all, I got to have a look in John’s comprehensive library which includes many classic ethnobotanical books, notably the first version of Cornucopia that I hadn’t seen before!!
Please see my picture album here: http://www.edimentals.com/pictures/index.php?/category/101
Check out John Kallas’ web site here: http://wildfoodadventures.com, buy his very excellent book that would be valuable to anybody in the temperate world, not just North America and try to take part in one of his classes or even better one of his hands-on intensive wild food rendezvous – see http://wildfoodadventures.com/nativeshores.html – I know I want to :-)
Oh, and John also turned up at one of my own talks in Portland which was nice!