Wild Feast Nova Scotia: Wild Feast & Foraging Hike
I recently had the opportunity to attend a Wild Feast & Foraging Hike, hosted by Avery Peters and Chef Nelson Penner of Wild Feast NS. Sarah d’Apollonia of East Coast Wild Foods also joined in on this event. It was a lovely evening in Wolfville with the lupins in full bloom; the perfect setting for a culinary experience inspired by wild foods.
We started out with a welcome drink and hors d’oeuvres before heading outside for a foraging hike, lead by Sarah, to learn more about local edible plants. After the walk, we returned to the Wolfville Farmers’ Market where guests sat at a large communal table and shared a delicious meal prepared by Nelson and his wife Kira. I enjoyed photographing the whole experience from Avery picking wild flowers and setting up a beautiful dining space, to Sarah teaching us about edible plants, to Nelson cooking a yummy feast in the kitchen.
I was curious to know more about how Wild Feast NS came about and had a chat with Avery: “Wild Feast started out of a love of the outdoors. I had been friends with Nelson and his wife Kira for a few years. During that time Nelson was the chef at the Blomidon Inn. I work as a freelance editor and writer specializing in cookbook editing and food writing. I profiled Nelson for one of my articles which featured a foraging dinner that he was preparing at the Inn. He specializes in foraging mushrooms and other wild edibles, which he used in many of his meals at the Inn, but this was a special evening where he focused on his specialty of wild foods.
In the fall of last year he moved on from his work at the Blomidon and I had the idea to collaborate on a project to host pop up and private dinners. Naturally the theme led to wild foods because of Nelson’s interest in foraging. I would do the organizing and Nelson would do the cooking. Wild Feast was born.”
Avery and Nelson are inspired by what grows here in Nova Scotia seasonally. Avery brings her artistic creativity right to the dining table with beautiful settings and wild bouquets. Nelson has a particular fondness for mushrooms and I LOVE mushrooms so I was excited to see them on this menu. I’m also a big fan of pasta, so putting the two together pretty much guarantees I’ll lick my plate clean!
Hosting an event with East Coast Wild Foods came about when Avery and Nelson connected with Sarah through Instagram. Education is an important part of the Wild Feast events and Sarah is great at sharing her knowledge of foraging plants with others, so she was the perfect fit to lead a guided walk. It was fun to see just how many plants along the rail trail are edible.
Avery and Nelson enjoy hosting a variety of Wild Food events. The Wild Feast & Foraging Hike was more casual, but they also hold multi-course dinners as well. The next tasting menu event will be held at Planters Ridge on July 13, 2018. Nelson has 6 courses planned that will focus on Wild Foods of the summer, including cattails, wild strawberries, morels and chanterelles. Check out their Facebook page for information on upcoming events!