I took the plunge into the world of smart phones just before we left on Holidays. Dana’s had one for years and while I’m familiar with it, I haven’t made the time to exploit the technology in ways I am most curious. After a few days of vacation and minimal playing with my new iPhone, I can already see tools I hadn’t expected which will help me further passion projects around food.
The most exciting find (so far) is a series of iPhone Apps that will assist with foraging – everything from what to pick, how to eat it, the seasons to pick it, pictures of edible crops and warning of look-alikes and the rest. I am certain that a little knowledge can be more dangerous than none at all but see some real potential for rural (and urban) harvests.
Here’s a quick preview of my initial finds:
This app is mushroom-specific. Mushrooms are generally regarded as the most advanced foraging with many edible types that look like other non-edible varieties. My initial peek at Mushy leaves me a little mystified as it appears to essentially be a dedicated google map to store and find the locations of your picks.
With 22 foraging sites plotted in North America (and none in Canada), Foragers Friend will need some time to develop (there are 200+ in the UK). I am curious as to how many people will share their foraging locations – when so many in the community almost protect their spots both for self-preservation and so that their find isn’t over-harvested.
This App has much of what all the others offer in a single package – although it was designed for the UK. We can find many of the same items around the world so there is still value here. Detailed descriptions, photos, maps and room to write your own notes all exist within this digital guidebook. I purchased in (we live in Toronto, Canada) and think this will be the starting place for most of our foraging expeditions.
Taste the Wild – Wild Food Forager (0.99)
There are 50 items listed in this app (which is also UK based) – flip through pictures to find a photo of what you are looking at and you’ll find lots of information when you double click it. The info includes description, habitat, seasons, what it gets confused with (if applicable) and uses for it. Great value for money with this one.
Wild Edibles Lite (Free)
There are about 50 different plants and flowers in this app – you can browse by photo, search by name or filter by the season, type (edible, medicinal or poison) or habitat. There are plans to expand this app further to include further interactivity and social networking – it has promise as those enhancements are added. This is a product of ‘Wildman’ Steve Brill’
Foraging Flashcards (Free)
Also a product of ‘Wildman’ Steve Brill, this is a great study aid. Pictures of a wild crop appear on your screen and you ‘flip’ the card to learn the name and features of the plant. There are ‘only’ about 14 cards in total but it’s a good start and not at all overwhelming.
We`ll share more info on the ones we find useful and the use of this type of application in general. I am excited to have a portable tool which may help increase our yield of foraged meals for the year ahead.