I write about people who live at the intersection of food and nature. This gives me a chance to follow multiple threads that intrigue me: wild foods, foraging, natural history, environmental politics, outdoor sports, adventure travel, etc. My wife thinks it's all a racket--an excuse to bushwhack around the woods and waterways by day and put away obscene amounts of rich food and wine by night. I can't exactly argue with that view. Really, though, my interest lies in the characters who feel equally at home in both field and kitchen. In my first book, "Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager," I go spearfishing for lingcod with a modern hunter-gatherer/English PhD; I hunt morel mushrooms with an Italian-American EPA administrator; and jig for squid on a city pier jammed with immigrants hooting and hollering in a dozen different tongues. Bottom line: Foraging is fun, reconnecting us to both the landscape and our fellow humans. Plus, a really good meal awaits. Each chapter concludes with a recipe. My second book, "The Mushroom Hunters: On the Trail of an Underground America," is about the men and women--many of them immigrants from war-torn countries, migrant workers, or refugees from the Old Economy--who bring wild mushrooms to market. To write the book, I embedded myself in the itinerant subculture of wild mushroom harvesters, a mostly hidden confederacy of treasure-seekers that follows the "mushroom trail" year-round, picking and selling the fungi that land on exclusive restaurant plates around the country. The book takes place over the course of several mushroom seasons and follows the triumphs and failures of a few characters, including an ex-logger trying to pay his bills and stay out of trouble; a restaurant cook turned mushroom broker trying to build a business; and a celebrated chef who picks wild mushrooms on the side to keep in touch with the land. "The Mushroom Hunters" was awarded a 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award. My third and newest book is titled "Upstream: Searching for Wild Salmon, from River to Table." In many ways, salmon are the last great wild food. In North America entire societies were organized around the salmon lifecycle--a few still exist. To write the book, I traveled throughout "salmon country," from California to Alaska and inland to Idaho. I spent time with tribal fishermen, commercial fishermen, sport anglers, scientists, environmentalists, fishmongers, chefs, and others. Their stories reveal the importance of salmon both as a keystone species and as a cultural totem. More to the point, the fate of salmon is largely tied to our own fate. What else? I've worked as a reporter, editor, and writer my entire career, for both Old and New Media. I took the plunge into full-time writing after a year spent living in a cabin off the grid with my wife and son. (I emerged from the woods with a book idea and a new daughter.) I live in Seattle with my family, where I teach foraging and cooking classes, write a regular column for Seattle Magazine, and contribute articles and essays to a variety of other print/web media.Read more Read less
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