A SPLENDID FORAGED FEAST

Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine|May 2020

A SPLENDID FORAGED FEAST
THE GIFTS OF THE NORTHERN WOODS FIND A PLACE AT OUR TABLE AS FRIENDS COMBINE THEIR TALENTS FOR A FORAGED MEAL AND NATURE-INSPIRED TABLE.
TIM COHAN

What happens when good friends walk a sylvan setting in the spring, learn to forage, then return to a secret garden and a table laden with freshly gathered food and flowers? You get “A Day of Foraging with Friends,” an event conceptualized and designed by Melissa Conradie, owner of Conradie Event Design, and Amy Hendrickson, owner of Amy Kate Designs.

Cottage Garden in Lake Ann was Melissa’s first and only choice for the event site. “My family has been friends with Dorina [Rudd, owner of Cottage Garden] and her family ever since I can remember,” she says. “When I was three, I thought of the property as a secret, enchanted garden, and all these years later, it still holds that same magic for me.”

The afternoon began with a foraging session led by Paul Salvatore, owner of Wild Mitten Mycology. Paul showed guests how to find morels and other edible plants native to the area, how to distinguish safe plants from poisonous ones, and how to keep warm in the woods. (See sidebar on page 35 for Paul’s tips.)

“It was unseasonably cool that day, even with the sunlight streaming through a canopy of fresh foliage,” says Kelly Newell with Serradella Vintage. “As we walked, our boots sank into a carpet of decomposing leaves left from the previous fall. Foraging baskets in hand, we left the beaten path on our search. Scanning the horizon for the right tree and just the right spot, we climbed over logs and through dead branches searching for what we knew and learning about what we did not.”

Bisson, owner of Smoke and Porter Public House, developed a dinner menu that included smoked trout toast and rabbit rillette, a bird’s nest Lyonnaise salad, herb ricotta gnocchi, smoked New York striploin topped with freshly picked morels and a spruce tip pots de crème for dessert. Several of the courses featured ingredients foraged that day: morels, stinging nettles, cattail shoots, ramps and more.

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May 2020