Foraging Class Schedule
Below is my upcoming class schedule which is updated weekly. Please make reservations. Walk-in’s are accepted if the class is not full. To make your reservation send me an email. Please include date(s) desired, number of people, and contact information. Class size is limited to assure personal attention. Cost is $30 per person over the age of 12, twelve and under no charge when accompanied by an adult (private classes are available.)
The class is usually around four hours long. For payment methods, see below. Classes are held hot or cold, rain or shine except for hurricanes. Descriptions of each location and where to meet are below under additional information. Times and day of week can differ with each location and time of year. Double check. Hiking and clothes requirements change with each class as do facilities. Again, double check. More details about each individual venue — such as where to meet — are listed below the Pay Now button. Classes more than 100 miles away from Orlando can be cancelled if only a small number sign up.
Payment method: Cash on the day of class, $30 per person over 12. Or you can pay by credit card by clicking on the Pay Now button below. Or, if you have a Pal Pay account email me and ask for the appropriate email address. No checks please. If you pay by Paypal or credit card there is an additional $5 fee.
Saturday April 30th and Sunday May 1st. Wickham Park: 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne, FL 32935-2335. Because of the interest in a foraging class at this location I have added a Saturday class to the schedule at the same location. Sunday is a large class already. If you want to transfer to Saturday just let me know. People signing up now should aim for Saturday’s class. Both start at 9 a.m. at the dog park inside Wickham Park.
Saturday May 7th, Blanchard Park, 10501 Jay Blanchard Trail, Orlando, FL 32817. We meet at the pavilion next to the tennis courts west of the YMCA building. 9 a.m. . We meet at the east side of the tennis courts.
Sunday May 15th, Red Bug Slough Preserve, 5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL, 34233. There are about 12 parking places and a residential street across the street that can be used. 9 a.m.
Sunday, May 22nd, Haulover Canal, Merritt Island National Refuge, north of the Kennedy Space Center. This class is scheduled about once a year because it is the most difficult of class locations and because federal authorities can close it anytime without notice. There is parking but there is no water, it is usually hot, and there is one portable toilet. Be prepared to walk around three-plus miles. Directions are below. 9 a.m.
Sunday, May 29th, Boulware Springs Park, 3420 SE 15th St., Gainesville, FL 32641. Meet at the picnic tables next to the pump house. We start at the park and then forage along a small portion of the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. 9 a.m.
Sunday, June 5th, Dreher Park, 1200 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33405. 9 a.m.
THE LOCATIONS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Bayshore Live Oak Park, 2200 East Lake Road, Port Charlotte. Meet at the parking lot at the intersection of Bayshore Road and Ganyard Street. Part of the original Port Charlotte Harbor this long and narrow park still sports many edible wild plants and ornamentals. There are numerous parking lots and facilities. We will meet at the parking lot east of the last fishing pier. Among the interesting plants we will study are elderberry, caesar weed, palms, sea grapes, Spanish needles, sea purslane, wild cow peas, red and black mangroves, oaks, railroad vine, saw palmettos, firebush, epazote, sida, Ilexes, Canaveral Rose, fig, smilax, crowfoot grass, loquats, coco plums, wild grapes, opuntia, Cereus, pines, horseweed, bitter gourd, and a few toxic plants. There are bathrooms and water at the park. Because of the distance this class has to have 10 confirmed students ahead of time.
Blanchard Park, 10501 Jay Blanchard Trail, Orlando, FL 32817. This is a large park with a YMCA facility built in as well as play grounds, tennis courts and soccer fields. It also runs along a the Little Econlockhatchee River so there is an opportunity to see some water plants as well. One down side is the only bathroom open a 9 a.m. is about a quarter mile west from where we meet. By the end of the class the YMCA is open. Jay Blanchard Trail runs east-west south of University Boulevard. The park can be entered on the west side by Dean Road (thus you dive by the bathrooms) or from the east side off Rouse Road.
Boulware Springs Park, 3420 SE 15th St., Gainesville, FL 32641. Meet at the picnic tables next to the pump house. We start at the park and on a small portion of the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time. DIRECTIONS: Take 4th Street off State road 331 (SE Williston Road.) At SE 15th Street (a T-intersection) turn right. In less than a mile you will see the entrance on your right to the Hawthorn Trail, pass that. Take the immediate next right into the Boulware Springs parking lot, adjacent to SE 15th St.
Colby-Alderman Park: 1099 Massachusetts Street, Cassadaga. Fla. 32706. Situated on Lake Coby and sometimes called Lake Colby/Royal Park, the 124-acre historic site was recently renovated with a quarter million dollar grant. It has a pavilion, bathrooms, boat ramp, plenty of shade, parking and a nature walk. It is the most handicap accessible site for studying wild edibles. A July survey showed at least three dozen edible species growing, from fruiting persimmons to spurge nettle to blossoming kudzu. Directions: Take Interstate-4 to Exit #114 (formerly Exit #54.) Turn west onto Highway 472 (toward Orange City/Deland. That is a left if coming from from the south, a right if coming from the north.) Once on 472 and leaving the interstate behind go to the first traffic light and turn right onto Dr. Martin Luther King Parkway. After you are on the parkway, turn right at the first street, which is Cassadaga Road (Country Road 4139.) Continue 1.5 miles to Cassadaga. You will pass the Cassadaga Hotel on your right. While the main road immediately turns left you will go straight (which is where the GPS puts you.) Go down a short hill where the road bears right and ends in the park. Meet near the restrooms. We will walk less than a mile with most of it on a paved walkway or a sand path.
Dreher Park, 1200 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach, 33405. Take exit 68 (Southern Boulevard) off Interstate 95 and go east. Entrance to the park is an immediate right at the bottom of the interstate bridge. Follow the convoluted signs to the science center (which is not where the GPS puts you.) Park anywhere. We meet 300 feet northwest of the science museum near the banyan tees. It’s a noisy area but early in the morning isn’t too bad. The amount of plants we can see depends upon the season and how much mowing they do. Among them are: American beautyberry, malaleuca, pigeon plum, pines, caesar weed, elderberry, wild grapes, citrus, oxalis, conyza, smilax, passion flowers, sandspurs, koontie, ipomoea, oaks, commelinas, Emilias, purslane, amaranth, figs, Bauhinia, crowfoot grass, surinam cherry, bitter gourd, red spiderling, sea grapes, sida, cattails, yellow pond lillies, Spanish needles, mangos, sedges, wapato, firebush, pickerel weed, sabal palms, royal palms, queen palms, bamboo, traveler palms, coconuts, date palms, dollar weed, water hyssop, mahoe, varigated mahoe, seaside mahoe, fishtail palm, podocarpus, lichen, pellitory, porter weed, pepper grass, smartweed, false hawk’s beard, sow thistles, epazote, sword fern, juniper, Ilex, cocoplums, bittercress, and two of the most toxic seeds on earth and an iguana or two. Because of the distance this class has to have 10 confirmed students ahead of time.
Florida State College, south campus, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, 32246. We will meet at building “D” next to the administration parking lot. Until recently it was Florida Community College Jacksonville, south campus.) Campus police say we can park on in the east parking lot, towards the north side. Restrooms and water are available. Our route will take us about a mile around the outer rim of the campus which (unless they mow a lot) has a wide variety of wild edibles. Among the edibles are cattails, wild mint, rumex, false hawks beard, hollies, hornbeam, sonchus, various palms, two kinds of chickweed, smilax, several wild mustards, pines, oaks, perseas, wax myrtle, Spanish needles, plantains, dandelions, false dandelions, elm. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time.
George LeStrange Preserve, 4911 Ralls Road, Fort Pierce, FL, 34981. The preserve is only about three miles from the junction of the Turnpike and I-95. It has no bathroom or drinking water so take advantage of the various eateries and gas stations at the exit. After exiting either the turnpike or I-95 go east on Okeechobee Road. Turn right onto S. Jenkins Road. Then left on Edwards Road. Then right onto Silvitz Road. After crossing the small St. Lucie River (a small S-curve among those straight roads) turn right onto Ralls Road. Go to the end of Ralls Road then turn left into the preserve. Part of the trails through the preserve take you along ox bows of the St. Lucie River and Ten Mile Creek. During my last visit I saw a lot of Ground Cherries, Amaranth, Purslane, Barnyard Grass, Dollar weed, Spanish Needles, Gopher Apples, Sow Thistles, native and escaped grapes, Smilax, Poor Man’s Pepper Grass, Pellitory, False Hawk’s Beard, Water Hyssop, Coral Bean, Hairy Cow Pea, Southern Wax Myrtle, Fireweed, Epazote, Catails, Willows, Pines and a lot of fish.
Haulover Canal, Merritt Island National Refuge, north of the Kennedy Space Center. Take SR 405 east from Titusville to SR 3, then turn left, or north. Haulover Canal is the only bridge you will cross on SR 3, approximately six miles. Go over the bridge, then turn left onto a dirt road, follow that to its western end ( on some maps this is one-half mile west of Allenhurst, a defunct settlement.) Park. If coming south on US 1: Just south of Oak Hill turn left onto SR 3. Shortly after passing a white “Epcot” building you will see a bridge ahead. One quarter mile before the bridge turn right on to a dirt road and follow it to its western end. Park there. If the area is crowded we can park at the Manatee Deck which is on the northeast side of the waterway east of the bridge. This is by far the most Spartan of our locations but it does have several plants not seen in other areas. There is no drinking water (bring your own) and only one poorly located over-used port-a-let, so the woods may be the rest room of necessity. There are few shade trees so you might also want to bring a shade umbrella or large hat. We will be walking on dirt roads for the most part, and only about two miles worth. But it is hot and dusty. We start at 9 a.m. because many refuge gates don’t open early. We will be sharing the area with picnickers and fishermen. In a recent visit I saw glasswort, sea purslane, saltwort, seablite, mangroves, Australian pines, bee balm, fruiting grapes (muscadines and others) fruiting Hercule’s Club, papayas, maypops, palms, crowfoot grass, very little Beautyberry (so bring mosquito spray) cattails, spurge nettles, oaks, pines, and more common Florida fauna. You can see Manatees and dolphins in the canal and go swimming or fishing if you have the proper license for the latter. On the map it is: http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?lon=-80.7544953&lat=28.7366586&datum=nad83 A short video of the canal is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81UesTh5xhQ&feature=related
Highwoods Preserve, 8401 New Tampa Blvd., Tampa FL 33647. One of the more interesting aspects of the Preserve is that it has four or five different species of grapes; at least one muscadine, perhaps three escaped cultivars and one escaped hybrid. This is a mowed field and sidewalk excursion. Bathrooms and water are available. It also is private property adjacent to a preserve so we are guests. Among the edibles are palms, Spanish needles, oaks, saw palmettos, skunk vine, smilax, duck potatoes, smart weed, bay trees, persimmons, water hyssop, dollar weed, caesar weed, blackberries, wax myrtles, pines, lichen, willows, sedges, sumac, lichen and beauty berry. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time.
Jervey Gantt Recreation Complex, 2390 SE 36th Ave., Ocala, FL, 34471. Meet at the entrance to the pool, aka Aquatic Fun Center. This walk is about a mile long and mostly on well-graded paths. While there are no immediate aquatic plants at this site there are numerous wild edibles. Among them are: plantain, epazote, oxalis, sycamore, pepper grass, hickory, usnea, pines, oaks, amaranth, Chinese elm, Florida elm, Hercules club, smilax, blackberries, wax myrtle, eastern red bud, spurge nettle, sumac, magnolia, tansy mustard, paper mulberry, sow thistles, Florida betony, camphors, ground cherry, red spiderling, podocarpus, Spanish needles, milkweed vine, muscadine grapes, summer grapes, palm, persimmon, beautyberry, dandelion, false hawk’s beard, plum, cherry, hawthorn, and henbit. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time.
John Chestnut County Park: 2200 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor, FL 34685. Meet at the trail head of the Peggy Park Nature Walk, pavilion 1 parking lot. This is a very nice, small state park on Lake Tarpon with part of the walk being lakeside. We will walk the Peggy Trail backwards, then visit the boat launch area, then an observation tower, then wend along the board walk lakeside. At the end of the boardwalk we will go through the center of the park back to where we started. That’s about a mile walk. Among the edible species there are: beautyberry, bitter gourd, blackberry, dayflower, caesar weed, cattails, chuffa/sedges, crowfoot grass, dahoon holly, false hawks beard, fireweed, Florida betony, Florida elm, grapes, cultivars, grapes, muscadines, groundnuts, heartleaf drymaria, hickories (water and pignut) dwarf ilex vomitoria, maples, oxalis, palms, panic grass, pennyworts, persimmon, pickerel weed, pines, oaks, reindeer moss, red bay, saw palmetto, smilax, Spanish needles, smart grass, sumac, sycamores, usnea, water hyacinths, wapato, water shields, wax myrtle, and willow. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time.
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, 2045 Mud Lake Road, DeLeon Springs, FL. Lake Woodruff NWR is located 25 miles west of Daytona Beach, Florida. From downtown Deland take New York Avenue (HWY 44) west to Grand Avenue. Turn north on Grand for about six miles (there is a left-hand dog leg in the middle. Don’t miss it. Follow the signs.) Turn west onto Mud Lake Road. The small tar road turns into a tiny dirt rut. A few hundred feet after crossing the railroad tracks park in the parking lot on your right. This is a hike of approximately four miles, two out and back. While the walking is easy we are exposed to the elements, sun on a clear day, wind on a cold day. Check the weather, dress appropriately. Bring water, wear suitable footwear. If you are a bird watcher bring binoculars. There are alligators. Among the plants we will see are: Smilax, plantagos, wapato, spiderworts, violets, crown berries, Florida elm, pennyworts, Asian pennyworts, false hawksbeard, sorrel, epazote, maples, blackberries, elderberries, palms, sow thistles, cattails, poor man’s pepper grass, saw palmettos, saw grass, ground cherries, bull thistle, dock, water shields, pickerel weed, wax myrtle, pines, lichen, sweet gum, gallberry, willows, oaks, and Florida betony,
Mead Garden: 1500 S. Denning Dr., Winter Park, FL 32789. Meet to the right (east) of the Bartram sign. The class takes from three to four hours. The garden has been around for some 80 years through various stages of attention and neglect. It has over 100 edible species on an annual basis. Mead Garden has natives, exotics, now-banned plants, once-common plants, and just plain old weeds (often removed from more-attended gardens.) Among the edible species in Mead are: Amaranth, American Burnweed, American Eelgrass, Beautyberry, Bee Balm, Bitter Gourd, Blackberries, Black Cherry, Black Tupelo, Bulrush, Cabbage Palm, Caesar Weed, Camphor Tree, Cattails, Ceriman, Chickasaw Plum, Chinese Elm, Commelinas, Crowfoot Grass, Creeping cucumber, Dayflowers, Eastern Coral Bean, Elderberry, Epazota, Feijoa Tree, Florida Elm, False Hawks Beard, Florida Betony, Gallberry, Goose Grass, Goto Kola, Grapes, Ground Nuts, Guinea grass, Heartleaf Drymaria, Hibiscus, Hickory, Ilex vomitoria var nana and pendula, Koontie, Lemon Grass, Lantana, Loquat, Magnolia, Maples, Melaleuca, Micromeia brownii, Monkey Puzzle Tree, Nagi Tree, Night-blooming Cereus, Oaks, Oxalis articulata, intermedia, stricta, Paper Mulberry, Pennyworts, Pickerel Weed, Pindo Palm, Pines, Podocarpus macrophylis, Poke Weed, Queen Palm, Red Bays, Red Bud, Red Mulberry, Reindeer Moss, Rubber Plant, Sand spurs, Saw palmetto, Seagrape, Shell Ginger, Skunk vine, Smartweed, Smilax, Sow Thistle, Spanish Needles, Spiderworts, Surinam Cherry, Swamp lilly, Sweetgum, Sycamore, Tulip Tree, Usnea, Violets, Wapato, Water Bacopa, Wax Myrtle, Wild Pineapple, Willow, Yam, Dioscorea alata.
Private Class: This type of class is designed for special interest individuals or groups tailored to their specific needs (from private one-on-one lessons to a land owner who wants to know what plants are growing on the property). Also available are tailored classes for hiking, camping, and garden groups. Please contact me if interested.
Red Bug Slough Preserve, 5200 Beneva Road, Sarasota, FL, 34233. There are about 12 parking places and a residential street across the street that can be used. Among the edible there are pokeweed, pepper grass, pines, sida, tar vine, Spanish needles, fireweed, amaranth, puslane, bitter gourd, horseweed, sow thistles, plantagos, native and non-native grapes, smilax, sumac, cabbage palms, oaks, magnolias, gallberry, caesar weed, beautyberry, willow, sword ferns, hairy cowpea, wax myrtle, elderberry, pellitory, saw grass, true thistles, blackberries, sweet bay, sweet clover, panic grass, water shield, wapato, black medic, day flowers, dollar weed, dock, bottle brush, epazote, silverthorm, saw palmetto, maypops, ground cherries, porter weed, black nightshade, False Hawk’s Beard, Oxalis, creeping cucumber, and a few toxic ones such as poison ivy, coral bean and rosary pea.
Seminole Wekiva Trail, Jones Trailhead parking lot at the intersection of Markham Woods Road and Long Pond Road. Longwood, FL., 32779. This is an active bike trail so caution is needed. But as such it is also suitable for scooters and wheelchairs. We will be walking. There are no lakes or ponds along the trail so there are no aquatic plants. But what edibles we do see we will see often. We will walk north just over a mile to a Panera’s restaurant then return. There are many wild edibles along the way included maypops, yucca, black cherry, horsemint, spurge nettle, gopher apples, reindeer moss and pawpaws. If there is some interest when we get back to Jones Trailhead we can also go south a mile to Dixon Road where there are sassafras, persimmons, winged yams and elderberries. There is drinking water at the parking lot but no bathrooms.
Spruce Creek Park, 6250 Ridgewood Ave. Port Orange, 32127. GPS: N 20°05’35.4″ W080°58′.26.2″ Entrance is on the west side of southbound Ridgewood Ave (which is also US 1) Northbound traffic will have to make a U-turn. For southbound traffic, after passing Nova Road and the twin bridges the park entrance is 1/2 mile south on your right. The park, not far from Daytona Beach, has 1,637 acres and three miles of “nature” trails. It combines in a small area three different plant environments; a small patch of weeds common to urban areas, coastal hammock growth, and plants tolerant of the salty environment. Most are noticeable four species of hollies including the infamous Ilex vomitoria, the North American equivalent of Yerba Mate. Two common brackish water edibles, Saltwort and Sea Purslane, are also abundant. We will meet at the restrooms (it’s actually it’s a pavilion but the direction sign says restrooms.)
Treaty Park, 1595 Wildwood Drive, St. Augustine, Florida 32086. Go past the dog park, the skate park and the racket ball courts. We’ll meet at the pavilion near the pond.
Turtle Mound: Canaveral National Seashore Park. While there are plenty of plants to look at we will probably have to change locations in the park at least once during the class. Because of parking this may require car pooling. There is also a fee per car to get into the park. For a preview see my video on You Tube entitled Turtle Mound. We will meet at Turtle Mound parking area. Among the edible species growing there are: Ground cherries, saw palmettos, eastern coral bean, wild grapes, seablight, sea purslane, salicornia, searocket, Persea, cabbage palm, smilax, black mangrove, Ilex, feral citrus, spurge nettle, papaya, wild peppers (in season) sea oats (protected) crowfoot grass seaside bean, opuntia, nopalea, toothache tree, seagrapes, purslane, hackberry, sedges, Spanish needles, sweet bay, and oaks,
Urban Crawl, meet in front of Panera’s, north end, 329 N. Park Avenue, Winter Park. Free parking in the parking garage, levels four and five behind Panera’s. The Urban Crawl is designed to help you identify edibles found in a city environment. We will see edible natives, imports, ornamentals, and neglected landscaping. We’ll also discuss issues with foraging in an urban area. Afterwards we can talk plants over coffee at Panera’s. We will walk approximately 2.5 miles most of it, but not all, on sidewalks. On March 6th the following edibles were seen: Dandelions, Podocarpus macrophyllus, false Hawk’s Beard, cabbage palms, white clover, the bottle brush tree, Bidens pilosa, various Oxalis, pellitory, dollarweed, night blooming cereus, oaks, camphor trees, sword ferns, pepper grass, hairy bittercress, roses, cherries/plums. saw palmetto, dwarf and full grown Ilex vomitoria, pines, skunk vine, Turks cap, two species of sow thistle, Nandina, beautyberry, smilax, cattails, koontie, pickerel weed, dock, Micromeria brownii, bulrush, yellow pond lilly, water shield, shell ginger, Chinese elm, natal plum, Stachyis floridana, pansies, canna, lantana, purslane, wax begonia, sedges, pindo palm, American holly, spiderwort, goose grass, mulberry, chickweed, and tansy mustard. Non-edibles worthy of mention: Rosary pea, the most toxic seed on earth, dog fennel and mexican poppies.
Wekiva State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, Florida 32712. There is a park admission Fee: $6 per vehicle. Limit 8 people per vehicle, $4 for a single occupant vehicle, $2 pedestrians or bicyclists. Meet at the Sand Lake parking lot. Unlike city parks or the urban area, Wekiva Park is “wild” Florida. There are very few weeds of urbanization. The edibles are mostly native plants and far between. This class is recommended for anyone interested in what the natives used. We will walk about four miles roundtrip. The plants are sporadically located. We will visit upland scrub and river bottom ecological zones, and then we will retrace our path and ”test” everyone. The walking is on trails and depending on the weather, at times it can be taxing. Bring water, appropriate clothes, and hiking equipment.
Wickham Park: 2500 Parkway Drive, Melbourne, FL 32935-2335. Meet at the “dog park” inside the park (turn right after entrance, go 1/4 mile, dog run on right, parking at run or on previous left.) This park is a recreational area more than a wildlife habitat, Wickham Park still offers several dozen edible species in two distinct habitats. We will walk about 1.5 miles. Among the edible species are Oaks, Cabbage palm, Crowfoot grass, Pines, Centella erecta (Asian Dollar Weed) Pennywort, Dollarweed, Plantains, Bidens pilosa (Spanish needles) Saw palmetto, Caesar weed, Grapes, ( native and hybrids) Smilax, Yucca filamentosa, Gopher apples, Wax myrtles, American Beauty Berry, Poke weed, Sumac, Saw grass, Elderberry, False hawks beard, Pellitory, Creeping cucumber, Oxalis, Bitter gourd, Cattails, smooth-leaf bacopa, Gallberry, Wapato, or wapati, Bull thistle, Ground cherry, and Purslane. Because of the distance this class has to have confirmed students ahead of time.
Your choice is an unplanned foraging walk. It can be public or private property in Central Florida, or an above site we have not visited in a long time. Usually the organizer — you — takes care of getting the minimum of 5 people to attend. As it is site unseen there are no guarantees on the amount or quality of the edibles to be found. The best locations include sites with bodies of water, fresh, brackish, or salt. Upland scrub (oaks, saw palmettos and pines) favorite among campers, are usually some of the poorest of locations for wild edibles. Old city parks are often good locations, even your neighborhood. State parks are among the least desirable unless they have varying terrain and water. Food is where the water is. YOUR CHOICE classes are open to anyone.