Local forager teaches residents how to incorporate wild food into diet

Forager shares expertise

Sarita Patel

He calls himself the Kelowna Forager.

Local expert Scott Moran harvests wild items across the Okanagan and sells his findings to tops chefs in the Valley and at the Farmer’s Markets to the public. 

He was introduced to foraging as a child, going with his family to search for morel mushrooms in Salmon Arm in 1999 — a year after a wildfire, which brings morels out in abundance. 

“With my brother, dad, uncle, cousins we all went up there - we really didn’t find anything until we got to a really high elevation and we didn’t bring water, we didn’t bring any safety equipment and we just ‘patched-out’ as we’d say - we did really well.”

His older brother Paul took his skills of wild produce hunting and became a chef, currently working in Vancouver. The culinary expert competed in Top Chef Canada last year and took home the top prize. Knowing there was a curiosity in exploring these types of food, Moran pitched the idea of wild produce to high-end restaurants here in town. 

“The young chefs, they really wanted to use these ingredients and here in the Okanagan we’re lucky we don’t have parasites say from cows and sheep, we don’t have pollution, we’re really like the only populated place in the world where you can just go anywhere and pick stuff,” explains Moran. 

He says after consuming natural foods, people will often notice a difference in their health, as the items are high in nutrients.

“These are all the healthiest foods, you will not find food that gives you more power and energy and that’s just because they’re not selectively breed, they’re constantly mutating - becoming stronger and adapting to this exact environment.” 

Castanet readers have been submitted numerous photos of a variety of large edible mushrooms found out in the wilderness. 

Moran explains the late spring rains pushed the mushroom season back several weeks

"April was really dry, which could be really bad, but then all of a sudden at end of April, beginning of May, we just got so much rain … and that’s when mushrooms that would come up in early April started coming up in early May.”

He compares searching for wild produce to an Easter egg hunt and loves the thrill of bringing fresh local items to not only high-end restaurants but also local residents at the Kelowna Farmer’s Markets on Saturdays — teaching them how to incorporate them into their everyday diet.

Moran will be hosting in-person, socially distant forging events for the next month or so, you can contact him for more information or follow him on Instagram

“Really what I am doing is sharing as much as I can in five or six hours, where we go from location to location and people are actually able to get hand-on with their own bags and knife and pick as much as they want to take home,” said Moran.

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