On this episode of Smoky Mountain Air, we look back at an interview we recorded this summer with Vesna Plakanis, owner of A Walk in the Woods, a tour guide service specializing in knowledge of edible and medicinal wild plants, backpacking, and outdoor skills and survival, as well as local human history here in the Smokies. A Walk in the Woods has helped more than 100,000 people explore the Smokies since 1998.
We spoke with Plakanis at the height of summer, and she described some of the best wild edibles for that season. Please remember that picking plants is prohibited in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but some fruits, berries, nuts, and certain mushrooms may be gathered for personal use within limits. No wild mushroom should be eaten unless its identification is absolutely certain, which usually requires an expert to determine. Many mushrooms are poisonous, some deadly, and the responsibility for eating any mushroom or fungus rests with the individual.
As Vesna Plakanis told us, she has been foraging for wild edibles since childhood with her family. Her lifetime of outdoor experiences eventually led her, and her husband Erik, to become expert naturalists. We spoke with Plakanis on an online video chat.
Go online to AWalkInTheWoods.com or send an email to [email protected] to inquire about their program offerings.