Couple forage vegetables and eat roadkill to avoid shopping at supermarkets
A couple in the US hardly shops at supermarkets because they forage vegetables and eat roadkill.
Eric Joseph Lewis, 41, and Jess Russell, 26, make their meals from ‘wild food’ every day, meaning they only have to go to supermarkets for certain staples and treats.
The pair, who spend half the year living in Florida, forage mushrooms, coconuts, avocados, berries and more.
For protein, they rely on trapping wild hogs and iguanas, eggs from friends who keep chickens and catching invasive species of fish, such as catfish.
They also eat roadkill – deer (a carcass can provide up to 100lbs of meat), opossums, groundhogs, squirrels, wild turkeys and ducks.
Eric, from Knoxville, Maryland, said he makes sure to use every part of a dead deer for bone broth, bones for his dog Leela and to make leather.
‘If you can get over the fear and discomfort of this being a dead animal, you can recognise it was a life lived in freedom and respect it. Nothing had to die for it,’ he said.
A typical meal for the couple would consist of home-grown onion, sweet potato and chayote topped with a wild mushroom they have foraged and garnished with stinging nettles.
They also often make wild berry smoothies and nettle pesto.
Eric and Jess still end up spending about £40 ($50) a week at grocery stores – to buy lentils, rice, kombucha, coconut yoghurt and the odd treat.
‘We get sweet drinks and treats – if we just got what we needed it would be $20,’ Eric said.
The ‘plant educator’ first discovered foraging when his late uncle, Tom Lewis, 64, took him on a plant walk as a child and pointed out edible herbs and plants.
In his late 20s, he spent some time living in a tent in the woods, spending most of his time meditating and doing yoga.
Eric worked as a painter one day a week to fund his food shop until, in spring 2010, a friend pointed out that he was living on top of a blueberry patch.
This reignited Eric’s passion for wild food and now he lives in a nursery, which grows fruit and nut trees as well as edible plants.
He said: ‘I eat nettles, Sochan – which is the same family as a black-eyed Susan – and sunflowers.
‘Now the berries are coming in – we have it in smoothies for half the year. We pick goumi berries and blackberries.’
Eric is passionate about ‘treating plants like people’ and wants to share his love for foraging.
His advice for beginners is to ‘acknowledge plants as beings while treating them respectfully and lovingly’ and to eat something wild every day to ‘train your mind to think about what is around you’.
He also suggests learning about different plants and trying to harvest plants which benefit ecology.
‘As we develop relations with plants and incorporate into diet, share that with others,’ he added.
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