Foraging has truly come full circle, from the basic function of ancient hunter-gatherers, to its current identity as a hip culinary technique touted on many a trendy menu. Connie Green, however, can legitimately claim that she was foraging before it was cool.
Wine Forest Wild Foods began when Green started making a name for herself by harvesting previously undiscovered chanterelles from the forests of California and delivering them to local chefs in need. She expanded her foraging services to include everything from huckleberries to sea beans, a salt-water loving succulent. She started pickling the sea beans, and discovered a refreshing, crunchy snack that enhances any sandwich it graces and is equally addictive straight from the jar. These popular pickles won a Good Food Award in 2014.
Based in her home in the Mayacamas Mountains in the western Napa Valley, Green now mostly guides a huge network of freelance foragers who follow the seasons all the way down the west coast. Crunching on Wine Forest’s Pickled Sea Beans, we love not just their slightly briny goodness, but also knowing that they were hand-picked straight from the marsh—and not just because that’s “cool.”