You can now check out the latest episode of the listener-supported podcast I dreamed up: wildcrafters and foragers around the world share their stories, tips and tricks to empower you on your wild path.
Give it a listen below (or listen and subscribe to Wander, Forage & Wildcraft on your favorite podcast platform).
If you like what you hear, you can become a patron on Patreon for as little as $5 per month to support production of the podcast and get extras, like the recording Bill did with me about The Nutty Buddy Collective, a multi-generational project he helped co-create with the "goal of working with community partners to bring native crops to local tables at an economically viable scale, in an ecologically viable way."
About the Episode:
It was nuttin' but a pleasure and honor to interview Bill Whipple, who came up with the title for himself of "Disruptive Hybridizer" while we talked. He was one of the intiators of the Acornucopia Project , of which he says (in this episode) their dream is to, "foster small independent, autonomous nutteries in the region that can support one another." Bill was a street performer in the past. This, along with his love of nuts as a way to inspire community relationship, shine through in our impactful and entertaining conversation.
Here (above) Bill sits, cutting x's into chestnuts from West Virginia for us to snack on while we talked in his hand built tiny home, surrounded by the literal fruits and nuts of his labor. I felt right at home! We drank his signature beverage, "Trea", tea from tree leaves grown on his farm (listen to hear all about it) on his birthday, while he wore a pink tie under what he calles his "elf jacket" with a slice of bitternut walnut that he made into a button.
Acorn Chocolate Pudding
(the gateway to acorn consciousness)
From The Nut Book - A Manifeasto of Community Nut Processing by Bill Whipple
Acorns aren't just for baking. They stovetop into amazing soothing and nourishing foods, like rues and puddings. Use it as a thickener to make a savory version of this called "forage porridge".
ACORN FLOUR- 1 CUP (I prefer red oak)
H2O - Start with 4 cups (hickory broth is best)
powdered chocolate - 8 tbs (roasted dandelion is more authentic)
sugar - 8 tbs (maple syrup would rock the boat here)
salt - 1/2 tbs
cinnamon - 1/4 tsp (spicebush would be the real deal but use less and work up, its potent!)
vanilla - 1/4 tsp (from native, temperate, vanilla trees of course! ;)
Coconut oil - 2 tbs (black walnut pulverized into a butter would leave the competition at the gates at any county fair contest)
Simmer cracked hickories and strain off meats from the top.
Blend with a little hickory broth. Add rest of strained broth and blend.
This is your base to slowly add acorn flour while humming:
"Stir, stir, stir the pot gently o'er the flame. if you won't, or if you don't, there's no one else to blame"
Add everything else to taste. The more creamy yummy added, the better it will be. This will set up and jiggle just like real store-bought jello!
Bill's Bio: Bill Whipple considers himself a "disruptive hybridizer". He has made it a life's work to transform contradiction into compliment. He has been commercially growing biologically grown fruit on his West Virginia farm for 33 years. He moved to Asheville in 2000 and began to revive and develop the Edible orchards in public parks. In 2014 a band of these enthusiasts created the Nutty buddy Collective who are growing select native nut genetics in what he calls "Forchards" (forest/ orchards). These orchards will become models for the perennial tree crop agriculture that will replace the travesty we call annual commodity agriculture. Tying this together is the Acornucopia Project which is a "nutwork" of visionaries who are developing processes, products, and infrastructure that will make the nuts crops accessible to the people.
Founder of the WANDER (Wild Artemisia Nature Discovery, Empowerment, and Reconnection) School, Botanist, Herbalist, & Professional Forager, Abby Artemisia, lives in rural Appalachian North Carolina. She learned about plants playing in the Midwestern woods of Ohio, working on organic farms, an herbal apprenticeship, a bachelor's degree in Botany from Miami University, and running her own tea business. She teaches about plant identification, native plants, and working with plants for food and medicine throughout the country. Her mission is offering nature and herbal education to create healing through connection with the natural world and each other. She is the author of The Forager's Wild Edible and Herbal Plant Cards and The Herbal Handbook for Homesteaders. She is the host of the podcast Wander, Forage, and Wildcraft, founder of The WANDER School, and co-founder of The Sassafras School of Appalachian Plantcraft.