Ontario is blessed with foragable wild foods for almost every season. The least of which is definitely not Spring. Spring in Ontario, means some of the finest table fare can be gathered including leeks, fiddle heads, cattail hearts and morels.
Finding most of these treasures can be difficult as they are heavily dependant on temperature, sufficient rain and their ability to hide from other foragers! Thankfully leeks are one of the easiest to spot due to the stark contrast of their green on the brown hue of last years fallen leaves. Leeks are also very plentiful in Ontario and can often been seen after the first couple weeks of 10 – 15 degree weather. Just remember when looking for leeks early on, the contrasting green is the key. They are one of the first plants to sprout. Also, you will probably smell the delicious onion odour a mile a way!
*****Please keep in mind when you are harvesting wild leeks it is best to only remove one or two leeks from a cluster or, more preferably, clip off the green and leave the bulb in the ground. This way they will continue to proliferate in the area. Consider it an investment for next year!
My recent foraging trip saw me getting up at 5:30, heading out my door at 6:00, stopping quickly at Tim’s on highway 15 and blasting up Sydenham Road by 6:15.
I met with a friend of mine at a favourite spot about an hour north of Kingston. Set with bags, a large bladed knife for digging leeks and our trout gear (cause you never know when a fishing oppourtunity will present itself), we headed up the trail with eyes focused on the ground in search of green gold. I guess it was by chance then that my friend spotted a decent sized Barred Owl perched on a nearby pine.
Quite the specimen! Further down the trail, and after some failed attempts at some speckles in a few local lakes, we found the spot we were looking for and began our harvest.
Lots of leeks to be had but no sign of any other forageables. Lots of signs of spring and remnants from last winter. I am always impressed by how fresh and stunning Southern Ontario looks in the spring. Not to mention how tasty it can be too! More on this once I have cooked a few of these tasty guys into a soup or two.